We produce hyper-local, highly-accurate weather forecasts for the tropics.
Ignitia's flagship product is a 48hour forecast message, delivered daily via SMS, directly to the subscribers phone. The forecasts also feature monthly and seasonal predictions and detail the likelihood, timing and intensity of the weather.
We are twice as accurate as global models with an 84% accuracy and reliability rate
Global models are only right 39% of the time. That means they're wrong more than half the time.
No smartphone required
Most people, and farmers, in Africa have access to a phone. Delivering our forecasts via SMS enables us to reach our target audience on a much larger scale. Ignitia is not an app. It's a tool.
Farmers make daily payments by using their current phone credit. This means farmers are not indebted to future payments, and can unsubscribe if they encounter unexpected financial hardship.
Of our initial subscribers, only 3% chose to unsubscribe. Users see the return on investment.
Ignitia is a low cost input. Farmers pay only a few cents per day, less than 2% of their annual input costs.
No farmer training required
Farmers are often portrayed as unintelligent, but that couldn't be further from the truth. What farmers need is reliable information, and access to technology in order to make more informed decisions. Farmers know how to farm, we're simply giving them a tool to improve their farming practices.
High level of comprehension
Our simplistic text format has been tested and refined for optimal understanding, even in low-literacy areas.
Storms occur much more rapidly and are 1/1000th the size in the tropics.
Global vs. Tropical Forecasts
The large majority of tropical and equatorial rains have their genesis in convective processes, which is not well represented by the numerical weather models optimised to mid-latitudes weather systems.
The physics involved to describe a tropical atmosphere is very different from the low and high pressure systems we see at mid-latitudes.Instead tropical weather very often have small spatial and temporal scales, which the mid-latitude models don’t cover due to the more scarce equation solving grids and time periods. Besides that, cloud and humidity physics have to be very differently treated from traditional models.
For this reason, Ignitia has developed an advanced tropical numerical weather prediction system based on high-resolution and various physics & initialisation methods. More than 20 man-years of R&D has been devoted to the core task of predicting convection in a tropical environment.
The build-up of technical and operational know-how, experience and pattern recognition of regional weather, constitute a corner-stone in our ability to deliver a quality service. Current technical development will result in even greater accuracy, new distribution channels, faster SMS deliveries & robust + flexible scale-up.
40% of the world's population lives in the tropics. By 2050, 55% of the population is expected to live here.
How We Work
Contrary to popular belief, there have never been accurate weather forecasts in the tropics. This is because weather works differently near the equator. Instead of large storms that are caused by pressure or temperature differences, most weather events in the tropics are caused by convective processes, which occur much more quickly and on a much smaller scale.
While large scale processes as well as micro processes are fairly well understood, processes in the atmosphere on scales 1-9km have for a long time been referred to “physics of no mans land."
At the core, a special high-resolution (3-9 km) edition of the research version of the WRF model has been developed. Development within the model has focused on improving the boundary layer representation, the cumulus parameterization and microphysics schemes, while at the same time, careful investigations of available observation datasets and their influences on forecast performance have been carried out.
Having a model that is calibrated to tropical weather patterns, as well as the higher degree of geographical specificity, means that we are able to predict weather twice as accurately as global models.
Our data assimilation system is mostly based on remote sensing data input, which improves the forecast quality considerably as compared to scarce ground-based observation data. We do this because ground monitoring stations in sub-Saharan Africa are sparse, and often in states of disrepair. By relying on satellites and remote data we are able to both predict weather without the need to build or invest in expensive infrastructure, and are able to expand our weather predictions to new areas and markets more quickly than other services.
Ignitia’s high-resolution tropical forecast model runs on its own supercomputer cluster underground in Stockholm, Sweden.
Upon completion of forecast editing, the forecast is approved and content is created for each subscriber depending on his/her GPS-location. The coordinates are fetched utilizing our application identifying the most common location of the subscriber during daytime and matched to the forecast category at the closest model grid points.
Once the text messages have been created, our application binds to our telecom partners, to submit the SMS forecasts to each subscriber’s mobile phone. This is accomplished by using different messaging interface protocols.
In the end, each farmer gets a unique 48-hr rain forecast, specifically for his/her location, directly to his/her phone each morning.
Storms in the tropics are often born, evolve, and fade at the same location within a short period of time.
7-day detailed forecasts are an impossibility here.
Where We Work
Originally based in Ghana, we have expanded into Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria. Because our weather model is dependent on satellites, our ability to expand is not hindered by the high costs of creating on-ground infrastructure in every location. This means that expansion to new tropical areas is easier and remains relatively inexpensive.
We have plans to continue our expansion into Africa and other tropical climates in the coming years. Think we should work together?
Read about working with us below.
Weather affects industries across the globe. Each year, billions of dollars are lost due to weather variability.
Work With Us
While our current projects are aimed at small-scale farmers, Ignitia can be utilized in a variety of other capacities. Tropical weather forecasts hold value beyond the agricultural sector.
If you have a project, a new idea, or are looking to brainstorm, we want to hear from you.
For more information on how you can work with Ignitia,
If your organization works with farmers, Ignitia can be incorporated into your current programming.
Agricultural Input Company
By helping farmers increase their yields, input companies can in turn increase their chances of repeat purchases for the next season. We can help you achieve this.
Corporate social responsibility initiatives that stabilize the supply chain.