Experts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) look at recent work that has been carried out to improve on some of the longstanding errors in convective precipitation.
Article by: Tobias Becker, postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and visiting scientist at ECMWF; Peter Bechtold, principal scientist at ECMWF’s Physical Processes team; and Irina Sandu, ECMWF Physical Processes team leader
Human life depends on the accessibility of water in many ways, and is thus vulnerable to changes in the global water cycle. Global climate projections foresee that a warming climate will lead to less frequent precipitation events, increasing the likelihood of droughts and making precipitation more extreme when it does fall.
IBM’s The Weather Company takes a closer look at its powerful new forecasting tool IBM GRAF, which is set to begin operating this month. The hourly-updating Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System (IBM GRAF) improves global model resolution by three times, helping to bring the rest of the world’s forecasts up to the standard once limited to a small number of countries.
Created in collaboration with NCAR and running on a GPU-accelerated IBM supercomputer, IBM GRAF is the world’s first operational high-resolution, hourly-updating model that covers the entire globe. It helps democratize weather forecasts so people, businesses and governments – anywhere – can make better weather-related decisions.
Atos has signed a new €42m (US$47m) four-year contract with French national meteorological service, Météo-France, to supply two supercomputers based on its latest BullSequana XH2000 technology.
The new systems will multiply Météo-France’s computing power by more than five, compared to its current solution, enabling it to achieve several scientific breakthroughs in weather forecasting. Each new supercomputer is capable of processing more than 10 million billion operations per second and are amongst the most powerful meteorological supercomputers in the world.
This increase in computing power enables Météo-France to provide its clients with enhanced and more precise and reliable forecasting information.
Flash floods cause more than 5,000 deaths worldwide annually, exceeding any other flood-related event. As the global population increases, especially in urban areas, and societies continue to encroach upon floodplains, the need for flash flood early warning systems becomes more paramount.
In response to this need, the WMO, the US National Weather Service, the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the Hydrologic Research Center formed a partnership in 2007 to develop and implement an early warning flash flood forecasting system (Flash Flood Guidance System – FFGS) for global application.
By 2019, over 3 billion people in 67 countries are being provided early warnings of potential flash flooding through their national meteorological and hydrological services working in concert with their national disaster management agencies.
A network of cameras developed in collaboration with California University has proved a valuable tool in dealing with the state’s growing problem of wildfires.
The ALERTWildfire system co-developed by researchers at the university’s San Diego campus now has more than 300 wildfire-spotting cameras deployed in the field.
The cameras have been rapidly adopted by fire departments with Ben Nicholls, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) division chief in Sonoma County, recently telling the New York Times that each one of the cameras is “worth its weight in gold”.
Sonoma County was recently hit by a devastating fire that destroyed nearly 80,000 acres in late October.
The weather technology company Vaisala will provide road weather data to connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) via a new partnership.
The Finnish firm has teamed up with the software development company Renovo in a deal that will make available its road weather and road surface condition data to Renovo’s software platform for CAVs. The data will help CAVs operate safely in different weather conditions. In return, Vaisala will be able to supplement its weather data models with vehicle probe data from CAVs operating with the Renovo platform.
The partnership will allow CAVs to pull data on current and forecast road conditions from Vaisala’s network of mobile road weather stations and road sensors.
A new coordinated drive to improve early warning for natural hazards will see better sharing of weather data between Southeast Europe and the Middle East.
The commitment follows a WMO meeting in Tel Aviv of heads of national meteorological and hydrological services from a number of European and Middle Eastern nations.
A total of 12 countries signed on to the commitment. They are: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Ukraine.
The new agreement will boost the development, implementation and operation of the South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System (SEE-MHEWS-A), a regional early warning advisory system set up in 2016.
A new study showing the impact of urbanization on flash flooding risk in the USA has revealed dramatic regional differences.
The research was carried out by Lauren McPhillips, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University. McPhillips’ team discovered that while urban development in the eastern USA results in an increase in flash flooding in nearby streams, it has the opposite effect in the arid Southwest.
McPhillips’ study focused on how urban development affects stream flows in the metropolitan region of Phoenix, Arizona. She found “that ‘flashiness’ – a measure of the rise and fall rates of water flow in streams – actually decreased with the extent of imperviousness in arid, urban, Southwest watersheds”.