Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sneak Peek: Sample Questions

The team is working very hard and we’re getting close to launch! We’re excited to share a sneak peek at some of the questions you will see…

Here’s an example:

What will the average arctic sea ice extent be for September 2014?

Some background: Passive microwave satellite data reveal that, since 1979, winter Arctic ice extent has decreased about 3 to 4 percent per decade. Arctic sea ice typically covers about 14 to 16 million square kilometers in late winter, and reaches a minimum of about 7 million square kilometers in mid-September.  However, recent minima have all been below 6 million square kilometers, with 2012 at only 3.4 million square kilometers.

And, another question:

What percent of managed honey bee colonies in the US will be lost during the 2013-2014 winter?

Some background: Estimates of winter loss for managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies are an important measure of honey bee health and productivity. Last year’s loss of bee colonies was 31.1% which is slightly higher than the previous 6-year average loss of 30.5 percent.

There will also be an opportunity to make forecasts in questions that are “linked” where the probability of something happening in one is affected by the other. For example, we’ll also ask:

How many billions of pounds of almond meat will be harvested in California in 2013?

This is linked to the previous question because almonds depend on bees for pollination; therefore bee colony health will affect agricultural yield, and may affect the amount of almonds harvested.

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up at to be notified the week of December 2 when we launch. We’re also looking for people to help create and edit forecast questions! Send a note to if you have questions you’d like to see on the site.


SciCast presented at the Northrop Grumman Information Systems’ University Symposium

Members of George Mason University’s C4I Center presented SciCast and two other C4I projects at the Northrop Grumman Information Systems’ University Symposium in McLean, VA this week.  Dr. Charles Twardy (SciCast Principal Investigator) and Dr. Tod Levitt (SciCast Project Manager) discussed the SciCast market, and recruited potential question-writers and forecasters.  There was steady interest and good discussion both of the public SciCast market and other potential uses of the technology.  Our special thanks to Ludwig Tokatlian, Lolo Penedo, and the Future Technical Leaders program for the invitation.