2019 show once again earns ‘must-attend’ status!
Meteorological Technology World Expo 2019, the world’s largest exhibition exclusively dedicated to meteorological and hydrometeorological technologies and services, was staged in Hall 6 of Geneva’s Palexpo for the first time, and saw some 175+ exhibitors display their latest innovations to over 4,000 visitors from 100 countries.
The move to Geneva (the event was previously held in Amsterdam) ensured the show could be held at the same time and location as the WMO’s 18th World Meteorological Congress (Cg-18), to allow attendees to maximize their networking and make the most efficient use of their time away from the office. Meanwhile, on the exhibition floor, there were more new product launches for next-generation measurement and forecasting technologies than ever before.
Campbell Scientific’s booth alone was host to several new products, which included a low-maintenance water depth sensor and a laser-based snow depth sensor. Most important was the SoilVUE10 soil moisture sensor, which uses a screw concept in which bare metal strips covering about 5cm each, at roughly 10cm intervals, can sense the moisture content in the soil.
“It’s quite innovative in the fact that the measurement prongs are on a spiral, so that when it is screwed down into the ground, you get very good contact with the soil,” explained Douglas Brown, senior technical sales engineer, Campbell Scientific. “It works on a principle called time-domain reflectometry. When you put traditional soil sensors into the ground, some people say it actually takes two years for the soil to settle before you get a proper reading. With this, because there’s far less disturbance, you get a good reading almost straight away.”
The news from Vaisala was that the company is expanding its range of radars with a new, more affordable X-band radar. Unlike its existing C-band model, the new radar provides highly accurate measurements for a limited area, filling in a gap in a national radar network or delivering precise information for an airport. Severe weather in mountainous areas and gaps under sparse weather radar networks can be made more visible with the new radar.
Alongside high-end sensors, Meteorological Technology World Expo also featured plenty of new offerings in the more affordable segment. Optical Scientific Inc (OSi), for instance, presented a new mid-range precipitation gauge. The APG-815-DS All Precipitation Gauge uses proven optical scintillation technology to detect rainfall as light as 0.1mm/h and as heavy as 500mm/h and more at a relatively low cost.
Airmar, which previously specialized in compact weather stations for moving applications, was at MTX to publicize its expansion into stationary weather stations. The new range captures wind data, air temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity and, in the case of the 150WXRS, rainfall. Thanks to the compact size and low cost, the “new range of products would be well suited to smart city applications or vineyards, where a large number of sensors are needed”, said sales engineer Heiko Mittelbach.
A major theme at the expo was equipment that is always connected and can be controlled from anywhere in the world – in other words, apps and IoT. RainWise debuted the fourth generation of its personal weather station and tipping bucket rain gauge, which now comes equipped with IoT features. CEO Carsten Steenberg explained, “It is the first weather station in the world that has a built-in cell modem, without needing an additional battery or solar panel and charge controller.” In addition, the architecture allows for easy expansion with additional sensors and communication modules.
GRAW showed the definitive versions of two products it presented as prototypes last year: the new DFM-17 radiosonde and the GRAWgo companion application. GRAW’s chief technical officer, Alexander Kotik, explained the thinking behind the application: “The purpose of radiosonde sounding is to collect a lot of data, and our way of thinking is: why don’t we put the data in a cloud service? This way, people can track the radiosonde in real time through the app and also store the data in the archive in the cloud.”
Finally, Italian company CAE showed its new compact datalogger, which has improved power management to allow its important functions to stay on constantly, enabling responsive mobile connectivity all the time. Federico Pasquini, director of international sales, explained that users can connect through Bluetooth without having to activate anything on the stations. That means the system responds better and communicates and reacts faster when you need bi-directional communication with the datalogger, such as for early warning and alert applications.
Over at the free-to-attend conference, fascinating projects were revealed for the first time, products were showcased and insights were exchanged, with presentations from over 40 industry experts. Peter Neilley, director of global forecasting sciences for The Weather Company (IBM), discussed progress in the field of numerical weather prediction and detailed the Global high-Resolution Atmospheric Forecast (GRAF) model. Using the MPAS model, it can make a variable-geometry grid for high-resolution analyses where required, and low-resolution where it’s not as crucial.
The company is also experimenting with novel sources of data, such as air traffic control data and data from smartphones. Neilley explained how valuable and expansive this source is: “All smartphones have barometers in them that are actually fairly precise. They do have biases, particularly location and movement biases, but it’s fairly easy to remove a lot of these biases through AI processing of the data. We’re getting around 125bn smartphone pressure observations per day.”
Elsewhere at the conference, John Harding, head of climate risk and early warning systems (CREWS) for the WMO, discussed how the initiative is supporting developing regions to improve their early warning systems. CREWS is primarily a financing mechanism and its focus is to strengthen the capacity to issue early warnings in low-income countries and developing states.
Harding noted that a project like this needs to go far beyond just investing in infrastructure: “We often expect the needs in these countries to be modernization of the infrastructure and the capacity for monitoring and predicting extreme events. Actually, in many of the countries in which we’re working, the needs are more related to institutional capacity. We need to help them develop sustainable finance models for their services. There is also the need for cooperation between institutions in those countries.”
A highlight of the second day of the conference was a presentation by Nick van de Giesen, professor of water resources management at Delft University in the Netherlands, who introduced the TWIGA program, one of the EU’s Horizon 2020 projects. TWIGA stands for ‘transforming water, weather, and climate information through in-situ observations for geo-services in Africa’.
Discussing the methods employed, he noted, “We try to integrate data streams in a calibrated way to provide information to end users, and we also continually close the loop by looking at what end users need. We also try to develop new methods to make sure that these developments also get to the end user.”
Meteorological Technology World Expo 2020 will be held in France, at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles in Paris. Make sure you add September 22, 23 and 24 to your diary. Why not register for your free exhibition badge now?
Carsten Steenberg, CEO of Rainwise:
“We have been at Met Tech for the last seven or eight years. It’s a must be – we feel it’s the only worldwide meteorology show that fits our market space. I think if we were not here, people would ask what’s wrong.”
Julia Behlinger, market development, Meteoblue:
“We’re here for networking especially, because our customers are from many different sectors – from the energy business, from agriculture, from tourism. So rather than looking for customers, we’re looking at how the market is developing, what the trends are in the weather business. We’re looking for new partners. There are a lot of hardware providers here, but they’re moving more and more into software.”
Richard Chappuis, vice president of business development, EWR:
“We hope to find new projects and renew relations for the projects that we already have. This is what keeps us connected to the global meteorological enterprise.”
David Hurwitt, vice president, global marketing and product management, NRG Systems:
“We’re looking for contacts with potential new customers and potential new distributors in different parts of the world. We’ve already had a lot of interest from distributors, which is exciting, as we’ve got this new technology and people are taking it to their countries.”