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Atmospheric Science Student Climbs to National Ranks in ‘Fantasy Forecasting’

Atmospheric science student Mark Schmidt has taken part in fantasy forecasting the last two years, climbing his way to the No. 12 spot among the best forecasters in the nation.

“I put this on my resume and now I’m the meteorologist for Sporting Kansas City,” Schmidt said. “I’ve been working there for the last three weeks, I even had to turn down an offer from AccuWeather.”

Fantasy forecasting is just like fantasy football, but is scored like a round of golf. Forecasters earn points depending how accurate certain measurement are to the given temperature, precipitation and wind speed — basic components of meteorology.

“We compete with people all across the nation,” Schmidt said. “So I thought that was really fun, so I decided to do it again so I could keep up on my forecasting skills.”

Since he forecasts every day for Sporting Kansas City, fantasy forecasting has helps Schmidt predict weather patterns, especially precipitation.

“You predict weather forecasts in different parts of the nation each time,” Schmidt said.  “One time you may be forecasting for a mountainous region in Colorado to a flatland region in Nebraska. Nailing down how much precipitation those places will get is hard.”

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