Severe weather (thunderstorms, floods, storms, etc) is responsible for many natural disasters which may cause significant economic damages and even loss of life. Accurate and reliable weather forecasts are essential for an improved preparedness and an enhanced awareness in the warning chain to protect citizens, environment and property in case of severe weather conditions. However, there are inherent uncertainties in the weather forecasts due to the chaotic nature of the atmosphere and limitations in the weather prediction models.
For decision makers and civil protection agencies the access to information about forecast uncertainties has great potential to significantly improve the action taking. The main objective of the present project is to improve preparedness and decision making procedures in civil protection agencies by building an innovative seamless probabilistic foecasting system. This system provides weather forecasts and the corresponding forecast uncertainties in a seamless way from several days ahead with lower spatial resolution several hours ahead with high spatial resolution. The system starts with first information about possible severe weather warnings based on the global ECMWF ensemble forecasts (35km horizontal resolution) disseminated to civil protection agencies, who can thus establish the first preparedness actions one week ahead.
A more accurate forecast containing uncertainty information about the severe weather warnings is issued and disseminated to the civil protection authorities based on regional ensemble forecasts (ALADIN-LAEF) at 10km horizontal resolution and three days ahead. Even more precise probabilistic forecasts are issued to civil protection agencies through convection permitting ensembles (AROME-EPS) at high resolution (2.5km) and one day ahead. The final actions taken by civil protection authorities will base upon an exact probabilistic forecast of ensemble nowcasting approaches at very high resolution (1km) and several hours before the incidence of the event.
The main characteristics of this seamless system is the probabilistic feature containing information about the uncertainty and predictability of severe weather events. This information should support civil protection agencies to optimize their decision making procedure in terms of preparedness and awareness and therefore better protect the society and environment from impacts of severe weather.
A close cooperation between meteorological institutes and civil protection agencies is necessary to overcome the communicative and institutional challenges. The aims of the project are
- to build a seamless probabilistic forecasting system from several dyys to several hours in time and from 35km to 1km in space
- to tailor this system to the needs of civil protection applications by an integration of the feedback from end-users and
- to strengthen the transnational cooperation between the participating countries and adapt the system for further use in other European countries.