Less than half a century ago, skilful weather forecasting beyond a few days ahead was deemed fundamentally impossible. The atmospheric system was assumed to be too chaotic, the observations too few, the computing power insufficient, and the process understanding too limited. In contrast, we currently pick the fruits of high-quality forecasts of hurricanes hitting coastal residents, timely warnings for elevated flood risks, and useful outlooks to manage agricultural practices or hydropower lake storage dynamics. This has become possible by acknowledging the need to join forces between observational experts, model developers and society-oriented forecast providers. And by accepting the need to take a long breath to build, upgrade, refine, couple, tune, tailor, test and adjust the complex forecasting systems. These systems produce today forecasts with high detail for a few days ahead to outlooks of climatic conditions at longer lead times.
The progress in the business of hydrometeorological forecasting and climate outlooks has been achieved by combining dedicated long-term resources resident in public dedicated hydrometeorological services, with focused project activities devoted to specialized components of the forecasting systems. IMPREX is happy to have made an incremental contribution to some of Europe’s best hydrometeorological forecasting and climate projection systems. It has focused on crucial elements used in operational and policy-oriented decision support systems of institutions in the European water sector, while successfully embedding its findings in the development cycles of influential forecasting agencies.
IMPREX has contributed to global and limited area Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) systems operated by ECMWF, the UK MetOffice and members of the Harmonie NWP consortium. It has worked on coupled hydrology/meteorology forecasting systems used for flood risk warnings, water allocation and seasonal outlooks operated by the European Copernicus Climate Change Service. It has also worked on creating enhanced detail in climate change projections by testing new experimental designs involving high-resolution convection-permitting climate models operated by the Harmonie NWP consortium and the UK MetOffice.