ECMWF user meeting puts emphasis on creativity and interaction

15 July 2019
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UEF 2019 Speakers' Corner

About 100 external participants attended the UEF 2019 meeting.

Creative and interactive sessions took pride of place in this year’s Using ECMWF’s Forecasts meeting (UEF 2019), which took place at the Centre from 3 to 6 June 2019. The annual UEF meetings give ECMWF data users an opportunity to learn about the Centre’s plans, new products and services. They also foster networking and experience sharing.

The theme of the meeting was ‘The strength of ensembles’. “Ensemble forecasting is important to our users because it provides information about the probabilities of different scenarios, which is important for effective decision-making,” says meeting organiser Anna Ghelli.

The meeting considered aspects such as processing model outputs, visualisation, verification and diagnostics, and applications and impact forecasting. In addition to plenary session talks, a variety of formats were on offer: Speakers’ Corner talks, poster sessions, an art-and-science session and a user voice corner.

Interactivity

Three ECMWF scientists presented new visualisations and ECMWF products by the Weather Room video wall and the weather globe in the lobby. “In this ‘Speakers’ Corner’ format, people can ask questions and contribute in an informal setting. We have introduced it in the hope that that it would encourage interactivity, and it worked!” says Anna.

UEF 2019 Speakers' Corner

Speakers’ Corner sessions took place by the video wall in the Weather Room and, as shown here, by the weather globe in the lobby.

Another novelty during this year’s UEF was that, prior to the meeting, participants were invited to take part in a user feedback survey. “This enabled us to analyse the responses in advance and to have more useful discussions in the user voice corner, traditionally devoted to such feedback,” Anna observes. “We were able to update users on developments relevant to their feedback there and then.”

UEF 2019 poster session

Poster sessions have become a fixture at UEF meetings. They provide space for informal exchanges on new developments at ECMWF as well as other organisations and forecasting centres.

Creativity

An art-and-science session aimed to get people to think about ensemble forecasts in new ways. Pairs of participants were briefed on a particular weather situation and given some hints on how it might develop. Their task was to draw a 5-day forecast based on their judgment of how the situation was likely to evolve.

“The result was a 58-member ensemble of forecasts,” says Anna. “Just like in a successful ensemble forecast, the true outcome was included in the range of scenarios but the spread expressed a degree of uncertainty.”

UEF 2019 art and science activity

Pairs of participants produced a range of hand-drawn forecasts, which added up to a 58-member ensemble.

UEF 2019 prizes

Left to right: UEF 2019 organisers Julia Wagemann and Anna Ghelli; Claudia Stoker from MeteoSwiss, who won the art and science competition together with Biserka Frankovic from Crocontrol Ltd, Croatia; and Lovro Kallin from the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service, who accepted the art and science competition prize for Biserka.

Continuing the emphasis on visualisation, for the first time the main outcomes of UEF 2019 were recorded by a professional ‘scribe’, who produced the following summary:

UEF 2019 scribe image

Full-size image

There were, of course, also plenty of traditional talks. More than 20 speakers from ECMWF and the user community, including ECMWF Director of Forecasts Florian Pappenberger and Director of Research Andy Brown, addressed the meeting.

“The mix of talks and activities made for an interested and varied meeting and initial feedback has been very positive,” says Anna.

Further information

All presentations and recordings of the talks are available on the UEF 2019 event page on the ECMWF website.