Liisa Petrykowska


Big Idea: 

Liisa is an atmospheric physicist that thought it was about time to develop a weather forecast for tropical regions; contrary to popular belief, no working system can reliably predict weather. After studying physics and meteorology in Sweden, she worked as a visiting scientist at the University of Washington, and started Ignitia in 2010.

2.8 billion people in the tropics have no access to reliable weather forecasts, which is a serious constraint for planning and timing of farming activities -- the livelihood for 80% of the population around the near equator belt. The lack of accurate forecasts is particularly distressing given the recent changes in weather patterns, exacerbated by global climate change, negatively impacting traditional farming practices, where indigenous knowledge is no longer relevant. Ignitia’s forecast model is built on disruptive technology and gives for more accurate forecasts in the tropics than ever seen before. Ignitia has shown an 84% accuracy rate over the past three rainy seasons, compared with global competitors that reach only 39%. Reliable weather forecasts alone can double the income of small scale farmers, since all farming activities are weather dependent. Ignitia aims to scale its technology to all of tropics, so farmers can make informed decisions.

Rainer Arnhold Fellows