Downloadable software tools very much serve IRI’s mission of empowering users to take advantage of climate information and forecasts, making them matter for their daily policy decisions to achieve improved economic and personal well-being. IRI’s currently available tools are:
Climate Predictability Tool (CPT)
Weather Within Climate Tools:
Stochastic Daily Rainfall Sequences Toolkit
Hidden Markov Model Tool
Software tools are self-contained packages that perform useful, and often complex, functions that are commonly and repeatedly needed. For example, the tool may take a precipitation forecast from a climate model, and calibrate the forecast to become a more accurate one based on the model’s typical biases as detected in a long history of its forecasts as compared with the corresponding actual observations. The Climate Predictability tool (CPT) can do this. Another tool may take a climate forecast, such as a forecast for a somewhat drier-than-normal season, and compute that forecast’s likely implication for the typical sequence of daily rainfall amounts at various locations that lead to this dry seasonal average, based on a long history of rainfall observations at the locations. The two Weather Within Climate Tools can do this. Other tools can (and likely eventually will) be developed to perform various other valuable functions.
A defining feature of a software tool is that it takes in data provided by the user, and provides a desired output. Often, complex numerical processing is done in accomplishing this task, and the user may control various settings that specify parameters of the analysis or the output. A usual feature of such a tool is that it is able to be downloaded onto the user’s computer so that they may run it on various input data whenever needed, without accessing the source page again until an improved version of the tool becomes available. Tools are often designed both for MS Windows and other computing platforms (e.g. Linux). When the user encounters a problem in use of the tool, IRI support personnel may be contacted to help resolve the difficulty.