Annual Report 2006, C-SRNWP Programme


Jean Quiby, C-SRNWP Programme Manager


29th of January 2007

1. A Vision for NWP in Europe

During the year under review, the activities of the Programme Manager have been largely dominated by the different works directly related to the Vision.

1.1 Introduction

Dr. David Rogers, former Chief Executive of the Meteorological Office of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, presented at the 24th EUMETNET Council Meeting, which took place in Basle (Switzerland) the 13th and 14th of April 2005, a document titled 'A Vision for Numerical Weather Prediction in Europe' in which he expresses his desire and ideas for more coordination in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) between the Institutions of the European Meteorological Infrastructure.

Council accepted the document and asked the Meteorological Office and ECMWF to organise a meeting to discuss the future of NWP in Europe, which should be characterized, as suggested in the Vision, by more coordination and collaboration.

Prepared by a Scoping Meeting held in Exeter the 24th of November 2005, the Vision Meeting took place at the ECMWF the 15th - 17th of March 2006.

The Programme Manager was co-chairman of this meeting.

The Meeting found 6 areas where collaboration in NWP should take place or should be reinforced or where interventions of the NWP community in the decision processes of other Institutions and EUMETNET Programmes are needed.

The 6 selected areas are:

For each of these themes, actions have been defined as Recommendations, which have been presented to the 27th EUMETNET Council Meeting held in Toulouse the 4th - 6th April 2006 (cf. Document EMN/C27/Doc12).

Council has considered, commented and approved all the recommended actions.

Under the theme 'Improved Framework for Collaboration', one of the recommendations reads 'Initiate the reorganisation of the SRNWP Programme' in order to enlarge its scope and strengthen its activity. The recommendation also proposes 'the definition of specific projects in a similar way to the ECSN Programme'.

1.2 New governance for the SRNWP Programme

This reorganisation of the Programme took place at the SRNWP Annual Meeting 2006 held in Zurich (Switzerland) the 12th of October under the leadership of the Programme Manager. At that meeting, a new governance for the SRNWP Programme has been defined as well as 3 specific projects that should accompany the Programme.

The Zurich meeting had been prepared by the redaction of a draft Programme Proposal that proposed important changes to the present Programme organisation. This Proposal has been sent during summer to the SRNWP Members.

The first priority work for the Programme Manager after the Zurich Meeting has been to draft a new Programme Proposal based on the decisions taken at that meeting.

The main changes in the governance of the Programme are:

1.3 Propositions for accompanying Projects

As recommended by the Vision Meeting, the SRNWP Programme should be accompanied by Projects - officially EUMETNET Programmes - in order to strengthen its activities by enlarging its scope: the Programme should not only be active in the co-ordination of tasks and in the exchange of scientific information, but should also produce deliverables for the NMS.

At the SRNWP Zurich Meeting (12th of October 2006), it has been decided to propose to Council the 3 following projects:

Interoperability between our numerical forecasting systems ALADIN, HIRLAM, COSMO and Meteorological Office.

This project should allow interoperability between the main elements of our respective forecasting systems, for example between models and boundary conditions, between models and verification/post-processing packages.

Common verification package and model intercomparison

The main deliverable of this project will be a verification package for the verification of deterministic model results. Every NMS that will participate to this project (a EUMETNET Programme) will be able to use it with its model without adaptation work. This will be possible thanks to the interface programmes that will be developed by the Project Interoperability.

It will also be the duty of the Responsible Member of this Programme to run with the common verification package a model intercomparison between the models Aladin, Hirlam, Cosmo and Unified Model.

Operational European LAM-EPS

LAM-EPS = Ensemble Prediction System based on Limited Area Models.

As for Interoperability, this specific project follows directly a strong recommendation of the Vision Meeting. The Responsible Member, after development of the system, will produce operationally short-range probabilistic weather forecasts for the NMS that will participate to this project.

This LAM-EPS will simultaneously be the European contribution to the THORPEX Project TIGGE-LAM.

The Programme Manager participated to an ALADIN-HIRLAM Workshop devoted to LAM EPS that took place the 13-14 November in Vienna. The Consortium COSMO and the UK Meteorological Office were also represented at this Workshop. Next to the discussion of specific scientific points, the Workshop also discussed the cooperation strategy for a European LAM-EPS, as preparation for the Project Proposal.

After the Zurich Meeting, the redaction of these 3 Project (Programme) Proposals has been the work with the second priority for the Programme Manager. He has been helped in this task by 3 Redaction Committees, one for each Project. These Redaction Committees were groups of five persons, one for each of our Consortia.

1.4 Other actions in the frame of the Vision

1.4.1 Common format for the exchange of a limited set of products for the benefits of forecasters

Also put forward by the Workshop 'A Vision for NWP in Europe' has been the recommendation

Identifying a common format for the exchange of a limited set of products for the benefits of forecasters.

The Programme Manager has presented this idea to the 'Working Group on Cooperation between European Forecasters' which held its Annual Meeting 2006 the 29-30 September in Athens. The forecasters have warmly accepted this recommendation, but no concrete work has started during the year under review.

1.4.2 EUCOS - Scientific Advisory Team (E-SAT)

At the 2006 E-SAT Meeting (11-12 May, ECMWF), the Programme Manager gave an overview of the Vision Meeting and presented the recommendations taken at this meeting.

He brought to discussion the Recommendation "Define NWP requirements for observations (for initial conditions and validation) for the next phase of EUMETNET observing programmes, in particular EUCOS, by 2009" in order to allow EUCOS to be aligned with the future developments in NWP, for examples with km-scale models and with observation targeting..

More concretely, he asked that in the second phase of the EUCOS Programme (2007-2011) the same attention, priority and resources be given for the observation of the meso-scale as it will be done for the observation of the synoptic scale.

However, the E-SAT did not enter into discussion because the extension of EUCOS to the meso-scale had already been refused by the EUMETNET Council at its 27th Meeting (April 2006). Council thought that an enlargement of EUCOS to the meso-scale would have financial consequences impossible to bear.

2. SRNWP Workshops

2.1 Third SRNWP Workshop on Mesoscale Verification

17-18 May, Sofia

This workshop took place in Sofia simultaneously with the HIRLAM All Staff Meeting 2006 and the 16th ALADIN Workshop. This has allowed the participants to have contacts with colleagues of the two other meetings and HIRLAM/ALADIN colleagues to attend some presentations on verification.

2.2 Fifth SRNWP Workshop on Numerical Techniques

5-6 December 2006, Zagreb.

As the Programme Manager became unexpectedly acute sick, he could only participate to the first day of this very interesting workshop and has been unable to take part to the general discussion. The active participation of the ECMWF has been much appreciated.

3. Other Workshops and Conferences

3.1 Second EUMETSAT SAF Workshop on 'Land Surface Analysis'

8-10 March, Lisbon

At the invitation of EUMETSAT, the Programme Manager participated at the Second EUMETSAT SAF Workshop on 'Land Surface Analysis' which took place at the Instituto de Meteorologia de Portugal.

He presented the result of a small survey made among the European NMS participating to the SRNWP Programme. The aim of this survey was to give to the Workshop an idea about the use of the satellite data by the NMS for the determination of surface parameters like albedo, emissivity, snow cover, fraction of vegetation, leaf area index, etc.

3.2 First Workshop on Remote Sensing and Modelling of Surface Properties

20-22 June, Paris

This workshop jointly organized by the 'Observatoire de Paris' and NOAA/NESDIS has seen the participation of all the European NMS active in the assimilation of the satellite data and of EUMETSAT and ECMWF.

The meeting was centred on the determination by satellite of the soil emissivities and skin temperatures in order to use with the highest possible accuracy the soil sensitive satellite channels for temperature and humidity profiling over land. If we could succeed in this endeavour, we could use over land for the NWP data assimilation a much larger number of channels.

3.2 General Meeting 2006 of the COSMO Consortium

18-21 September, Bucharest

The Programme Manager has been invited by the COSMO Consortium to participate to its Annual General Meeting 2006. In his talk, he tried to situate the COSMO Consortium with respect to the other Consortia.

4. Other Actions

4.1 State of the Project PEPS

PEPS = 'Poor-man Ensemble Prediction System' which is the same as 'Probabilistic forecasts based on operational NWP fields'.

Running at the DWD, the pre-operational phase of this Project shows a very high reliability: 4 times a day, probabilistic forecasts of 5 parameters (total precipitation, total snowfall, 10m wind speed, 10m wind gusts and 2m temperature) are disseminated for different thresholds.

The models of 20 European NMS are used. In terms of number of models, PEPS is very probably the largest multi-model ensemble prediction system in the world. The DWD deserves recognition for the management of this large-scale project.

An important step has been achieved during the year under review: the calibration of the models has been realized over Germany. It is of course planed to calibrate the models for the whole PEPS domain. However, this will be a very challenging work, as it is not easy to calibrate models when they do not cover the same area.

The PEPS forecasts are well used in Europe and at its last Annual Meeting (29-30 September in Athens) the 'Working Group on Cooperation between European Forecasters' has asked for an extension of the PEPS forecast range up to 48 hours (presently: only up to 24 hours).

Concerning the commercialization of the PEPS forecasts, the Programme Manager wants to warmly thank ECOMET, which has worked out a scheme for the determination of the price of a multi-model ensemble weather forecast. ECOMET has announced this good news at its 23rd General Assembly that took place the 23rd of November in Funchal (Madeira).

4.2 Hourly dissemination of SYNOP messages in Europe

The efforts made to promote between the EUMETNET Members real-time dissemination of hourly SYNOP messages (i.e. not only at the UTC synoptic times 00, 03, 06, etc but also between these times (i.e. at 01, 02, 04, etc)) have been so far successful: a comparison between 2004 and today - as presented by the Programme Manager at the 2006 SRNWP Annual Meeting - shows a clear improvement.

For the continuation of this effort, the present situation has been analysed and the weaknesses identified. This will allow to ask very specific NMS to start or to improve - if they can - the dissemination of their SYNOP messages at non synoptic times.

This work has been explicitly encouraged by the EUCOS Scientific Advisory Team at its 2006 Meeting (11-12 May at the ECMWF).

4.3 Production and dissemination of radar composites for Europe

Although this action is a task of the Programme OPERA, the European radar composites are very important products for the short-range NWP for the verification of the precipitations and, in the future, for data assimilation (assimilation of the precipitations). The Programme Manager has been lobbying at several occasions (particularly at the 2006 E-SAT Meeting) for the lifting of the ban preventing the use of the composites by the NMS, except for data quality purposes.

It with great satisfaction that the NWP community has read in the List of decisions of the 28th Council Meeting (13-15 September, Budapest) that the latter 'approved the use of composite images for official duties within the NMS, excluding commercial use.

4.4 Web site of the Programme

The web site is a strong component of the SRNWP Programme. It records in average 380 visits per month. It is becoming very large, most of the disk space being taken by the scientific presentations of the SRNWP Workshops.