Reflections on the 2018 HEPEX “Breaking the Barriers” workshop in Melbourne, Australia
Louise Arnal, Hannah Cloke, Louise Crochemore, Bastian Klein, Ilias Pechlivanidis, Maria-Helena Ramos, Ioannis Tsanis, Albrecht Weerts and Andy Wood
The 2018 HEPEX workshop showed great success despite (or thanks) to its location, with over 120 attendees (of which 9 were IMPREX partners) from 15 different countries! The workshop kicked off with a series of welcoming speeches, including stories told by an elder of the Wurundjeri people to highlight the importance of the symbiosis between (indigenous) people and their environment (land and water). This workshop ran over three very warm days, dazzling us with a myriad of high quality talks and posters.
Day 1’s keynote speaker, Hannah Cloke (University of Reading), gave an inspiring talk on how far ensemble flood forecasting has come and how communication, co-production, representing uncertainty and Earth System models can help us break the barriers! The day followed with talks on regional to global scale forecasting, where Louise Arnal (University of Reading / ECMWF) presented the skill of the EFAS seasonal streamflow forecasts over Europe, asking whether seasonal streamflow forecasts produced with climate forecasts are more skilful than those produced with historical observations. The answer? It depends! Andy Wood (member of the IMPREX Advisory Board) demonstrated the added value of an array of techniques to improve (seasonal) streamflow forecasting and called for consistent hydrological forecasting communication. Later talks focussed on hydrological modelling and data assimilation techniques, with talks by Albrecht Weerts (Deltares) and Bastian Klein (BfG) on improving hydrological forecasts for the Rhine River basin using techniques such as meteorological data interpolation, lumped vs. distributed models and seasonal climate forecast post-processing.
The workshop continued on Day 2 with talks on subseasonal forecasting: bridging medium-term and seasonal horizons and ensemble weather prediction and floods: risk, forecasting and warning. Maria-Helena Ramos (Irstea) talked about ensemble forecasting approaches to flash flood nowcasting and highlighted the challenges in verification due to the unique nature of each event.
The third and last day of this workshop saw a series of talks on seasonal streamflow forecasting, with Louise Crochemore (SMHI) raising questions on the skill of seasonal streamflow forecasts over Europe: what causes skill patterns? where does the predictability come from? and how can we improve the forecasts based on the answers to these questions? The day followed with talks on operational and hydrometeorological forecasting services, where Ilias Pechlivanidis (SMHI) presented the SWICCA C3S operational pan-European seasonal hydro-climatic forecasting service and highlighted the need for knowledge purveyors to make the link between forecasters and users. The last talks of the day were about the application of ensemble prediction for hydropower and reservoir operations, followed by discussions on where we should go next in hydrometeorological ensemble prediction. The key challenge identified by attendees was the communication of forecast value!
Several posters were also presented by IMPREX partners, including a poster on “The 2013/14 Thames Basin Floods: Do Improved Meteorological Forecasts Lead To More Skilful Hydrological Forecasts At Seasonal Timescales?” by Jess Neumann (University of Reading) and the “Assessment Of The Probabilistic Forecasting Of The European Flood Awareness System” by Ioannis Tsanis (Technical University of Crete).
During the poster session, Louise Arnal invited some attendees to play the IMPREX-HEPEX decision-making game, ”Pathways to running a flood forecasting centre: an adventure game!”. The game will be part of the IMPREX Risk Outlook and collecting such experiences is essential for its success!
As you can see, IMPREX partners have strongly contributed to this workshop and the discussions about using probabilistic forecasts of hydrologic extremes to better inform decision-making.
So, what do you think the key challenges are in hydrometeorological ensemble prediction? And how can you / IMPREX help breaking the barriers of hydrometeorological forecasting? Let us know what you think in an IMPREX blog post!
For more information on the outcomes of this workshop, you can read the HEPEX workshop summary blog post.