In terms of winter storms, the Weather Channel has been naming US winter storms on its own volition since 2011 but it’s not part of any official system. In Europe however, ordinary citizens and companies have been able to “Adopt a Vortex” since 2002.  This program is run by the Free University in Berlin which has been naming storms since 1954, and proceeds support weather monitoring by students at the institution. A low weather system goes for 199 euros, high weather system are 299 euros because they generally have a longer lifespan. According to Spiegel, the adopter also receives “detailed material, including weather maps, charting the ‘life story’ of the weather system.”

On the Adopt a Vortex website, the organization describes why students volunteer to observe the weather. In addition to begin the only university with its own weather station, “the answer is simple: We are students of meteorology. And generally we are crazy. Especially concerning the weather.”

Adopting a vortex comes with some inherent risk however, especially if storms become deadly. Cold Front Cooper in 2012 was sponsored by Mini Cooper for a mere 299 euros, but dozens of people were killed, leading to a marketing mishap. With reports that more extreme weather in Europe is going to become a norm, we wonder how many names will be bought out of spite towards someone else, in the hopes the storm will become deadly!