ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — U.S. Air Force meteorologists announced Friday they have developed a computerized forecasting model that can accurately predict the arrival of nightfall in as many as 80 percent of cases.
The weather forecasting model, known as “NIGHT RANGER 2.0,” recently predicted that nightfall would arrive ahead of a scheduled test of a new night vision device for fighter pilots.
Researchers said that they hoped that with continued work on the project, they could make the nighttime forecaster even more accurate.
“Imagine if commanders in the field were to have a tool like this that could help them plan operations around the clock, especially at night when the enemy can’t really what we’re doing,” said lead meteorologist Steven P. Jackson. “The advantages our forces would have are limitless.”
Jackson also acknowledged that NIGHT RANGER 2.0 also has lots of commercial potential as well.
“Right now, it’s a running joke in virtually every community around the country that the local weather guy is never right,” Jackson said with a chuckle. “I’ve made fun of how wrong they’ve been myself.
“Our prediction model would make jokes like, ‘That guy is so bad he can’t even predict nightfall!’ a thing of the past,” Jackson said.
The meteorologist said that he hopes to produce a model with a 90-percent accuracy rate by mid-decade, though he admits that might be too soon.
“We’ve got a lot of work still to do,” he said.