Florian Pappenberger

Director of Forecasts
Forecast Department


Florian Pappenberger leads the Forecast Department at the European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The Forecast Department at ECMWF has a strong customer focus. He is responsible for the 24/7 production of weather forecasts, forecast quality control (verification and diagnostics), development of novel forecast products, applications of weather forecasts such as flood, drought, fire and health forecasts, numerical weather prediction relevant software development, data sales and outreach and training. Florian has a background in the forecasting of weather driven natural hazards including floods, droughts, windstorms, forest fires and impacts on human health. He has over 10 years of expertise in operational probabilistic forecasting, extreme value statistics and numerical model system development at ECMWF. He was responsible for the development and implementation of the operational centre of the Copernicus Emergency Service - Early Warning Systems (floods). Florian is the author of over 150 scientific publications and has won several scientific awards. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society and a member of several other professional bodies including HEPEX, British Hydrological Society, EGU, AGU, EMS, AMS. He is on the editorial board of several international journals and regularly advises on international committees including WMO and world bank.

Professional interests:
  • Early warning systems and Disaster Risk Reduction 
  • Numerical Weather Predictions
  • Cloud Computing
  • Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
  • Uncertainty/Sensitivity analysis and cascading of uncertainty/sensitivity 
  • Statistical post- and pre-processing 
  • Increasing the usage and usefulness of ensemble forecasts
Career background:


PhD, Lancaster University, UK (awarded 2004). Thesis: “Uncertainty in flood inundation modelling”. Supervisor: Prof Keith Beven

MSc, Lancaster University, UK (awarded 2000 with distinction). Dissertation: “Uncertainty in flood inundation modeling on the River Morava (Czech Republic)”. Supervisor: Prof Keith Beven

Professional Experience

  • From 2016 - Director of Forecasts, ECMWF
  • 2014-2017 - Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, Bristol University, UK
  • 2011-2014 - Visiting Professor, College of Hydrology & Water Resources, Hohai University, China
  • 2006-2016 - Principal Scientist and Team Leader responsible for the operational centre of the European Flood Awareness System and the applications of NWP team, ECMWF
  • 2008-2010 - Consultant on the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) project: Europeanizing flood forecasting of risk and science in the EU, EU/702283211
  • 2009-2010 - Guest Lecturer, Department of Geography, King's College London, UK 
  • 2004-2006 - Post-doctoral research assistant on the Flood Risk Management Research Consortium, Hydrology and Fluid Dynamics Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Lancaster, UK
  • 2004 - Postdoctoral researcher, European Flood Alert System, European Commission Joint Research Centre, Weather Driven Natural Hazards Action, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Varese, Italy
  • 2000 - Visiting Scientist, TG Masaryk Water Research Institute, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 1998 - Research Assistant, University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
External recognitions

Awards and Fellowships

  • 2015 Runner up, Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology for "A global approach to predicting flash floods" (details, abstract)
  • 2012 IES Excellence Award 2011 for "Support to EU Policy", awarded to the EFAS team
  • 2011 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists (EGU)


  • NCAR RAL Advisory Board (2017-2020)
  • ​​Mitglieder des Expertengremiums National Research Data Infrastructure (2019 - )