Love Sunsets as Much as I Do? Check Out This New Tool!

11/30/2015, 12:28:42 PM

If you follow this blog, or my Twitter (@AccuWxBeck), you have come to realize that I love sunrises and sunsets. I love them so much that I hate to miss a really good one. I monitor webcams all over the country in hopes of seeing some beautiful colors.

Do you also hate missing a good show in the sky at the end of the day? Well, I have an exciting new tool to share with you! It was developed by students (current and former) at Penn State, one of whom is now a fellow employee at AccuWeather!

Jacob DeFlitch, Ben Reppert and Steve Hallett put together a remarkable model for predicting how vivid and colorful a sunset will be. The model shows the United States, southern Canada and northern Mexico.

"During my time as a Penn State photographer, it was my goal to capture the scenery and landscape of the campus. As a meteorologist, it was my goal to combine the beauty of campus with the nature around it," said Jacob DeFlitch.

"I found the best photographs came from sunrises and sunsets, adding the vivid color to the image. However, it took me a good 30 minutes - 1 hour to photograph, and sometimes the sunset/sunrise didn't turn out as I hoped. Because of this, I had the idea to create a sunset model, in hopes to not only help myself but all who enjoy the beauty of nature and want to capture it," DeFlitch added.

DeFlitch teamed up with Ben Reppert (also a PSU meteorology graduate) and current PSU meteorology student Steve Hallett. Working together, they spent many weeks developing the algorithm and verifying it before going public. "We are still, of course, tweaking the algorithm, and making additions to the model and its future uses," DeFlitch added.

The model ingests data from the 4k NAM. The sunset forecasts are ran off the 12z/18z and sunrises (beta-testing) is run off of 00z/06z. More information can be found in the "About Us-About the Model" section of their website. Personally, I am very excited about the sunrise model since I see more of those than sunsets these days!

Many people have already jumped on this fantastic tool and tweeted their sunset verifications to the team!

You can see the latest sunset forecast on their website: SunsetWX, or posted to their Twitter page: @sunset_wx or their Facebook page: SunsetWx on Facebook.

Questions or comments? Post them on the Storm Blog Facebook page or tweet them to @AccuWxBeck.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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