TUCSON, Ariz. - Fans of fantasy sports and Arizona monsoons, rejoice: there's a new game in store for you.
A few faculty members from the University of Arizona have created a fantasy monsoon game where people make their predictions on this year's monsoon for a chance to win some prizes at the end of the season.
Zack Guido and his colleagues created the fantasy monsoon game last year, and they're bringing it back for the second year.
It's a question many meteorologists and climatologists in the Southwest get: What's the monsoon going to be like?
But many times, the answer may not be good enough.
"The hints in the environment and the atmosphere and the oceans are not that strong for us to have very confident predictions in what the monsoon is going to be like," Guido said.
That's why he and his colleagues wanted to change things up.
It's called Southwest Monsoon Fantasy Forecasts. To participate, people can make an account at monsoonfantasy.arizona.edu.
In the beginning there's a short questionnaire about your monsoon knowledge and experience. Once completed, you can start making your predictions for five major cities in the Southwest: Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso.
"We provide some information about what has historically it's been like at a particular city," Guido said. "You know, we turn that into a distribution to a bar graph and then. You can make your predictions, and it tells you where your predictions fall on that historical record.
Players make a total of 15 forecasts over a three-month period, July through September. They can earn points through the riskiness and accuracy of their guesses.
"If they’re betting average condition, the possible points that they can earn are less if they are betting on greater than average rainfall or much below average rainfall," Guido explained.
At the end of the season, the points are tallied and a monsoon forecast champion is named.
Guido said he hopes people can gain a few things from the game.
"A new appreciation of the monsoon and the amazing weather that it generates, but also a curiosity about how it works and the climate system works," he said.
Players have until the end of the month to make predictions for the following month. For example, to make predictions for July, you'll have until June 30 to do so.
The winner will get a $400 Amazon gift card, and there are also prizes for second and third places.
Learn more here: https://monsoonfantasy.arizona.edu/home