As 'Monsoon Fantasy' winds down, players vie to make it rain
As the joys of fantasy football begin, the drama of the second annual Southwest Monsoon Fantasy Forecasts game winds down.
The game tests people's knowledge of the monsoon as players predict the monthly total precipitation for five cities in the Southwest as a percent of their historical average. For example, a guess might be that it’ll rain 50% of the norm in Albuquerque, N.M., this month.
The goal is to earn points based on risk and accuracy.
Zack Guido is the director of the Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies at the University of Arizona. He also co-leads the project. He says 400 people signed up this year to predict the monsoon precipitation totals in the Arizona cities of Flagstaff, Tucson and Phoenix, as well as Albuquerque and El Paso, Texas.
Monsoon Fantasy's creators hope it spurs people's curiosity about the monsoon and climate at large.
“I think people have lost some of the natural wonder that the climate can bring,” Guido said. “Just paying attention to the environment is a value in and of itself and that will naturally drive questions that people may have.”
The monsoon and the game come to an end at the end of September, but “it’s still anyone’s game,” Guido says, adding that in 2021 some storms completely changed the board on the final day.
"Last summer was crazy," said Michael Crimmins, a UA climatologist and another leader on the project, in a press release. "We rolled out this game in one of the wettest monsoons on record, so we got a version of Monsoon Fantasy that is unique to those conditions."
The three top scorers this year will get $400, $300 or $200 Amazon gift cards.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.