New Strategy

After some eighteen months in the making, ECMWF’s Strategy 2016–2025 has now been finalised. This ambitious plan, which sets ECMWF’s direction of travel for the years to come, was developed with our Member and Co-operating States and partners and was unanimously approved by our Council on 30 June. Most of the process of drawing it up took place in 2015 as the Centre marked its 40th anniversary, and this provided a fitting background, helping us to shape our future through the scientific advances we have achieved in the past. 

Today, as we acknowledge how tremendous the progress of the past 40 years has been, we recognise that much more can be done. More progress in research and computing techniques is needed in order to make an even bigger contribution to society. Our new Strategy rests on three pillars: an Earth system approach to modelling; the primacy of an ensemble approach to forecasting, providing forecasters with a range of likely scenarios; and scalable computations to meet the new technological challenges. The goals it sets include making skilful ensemble predictions of high-impact weather up to two weeks ahead. We also aim to predict large-scale patterns and regime transitions up to four weeks ahead and global-scale anomalies up to a year ahead.

The Strategy fundamentally relies on more collaboration with the wider scientific community in order to achieve our ambitious goals. We believe that with the support and cooperation provided by the community of European national meteorological services, the World Meteorological Organization, EUMETSAT and other space agencies, academia and all our partners across the world, we will continue to advance global numerical weather prediction at a pace that meets increasing societal demands.

As we wait for the full implications of the UK’s EU referendum to unfold, we know that the spirit of collaboration, which is the essence of ECMWF, will remain, notwithstanding the fact that the UK has voted to leave the EU.

Over the 40 years of its existence, ECMWF has been living proof of what cooperation between EU and non-EU members can deliver in the scientific field, and we trust it will remain that way.

Florence Rabier