In September 2016, two EU Horizon 2020-funded projects in which ECMWF is a partner held their annual general assemblies. The first ANYWHERE (EnhANcing emergencY management and response to extreme WeatHER and climate Events) general assembly took place from 5 to 7 September in Genoa, Italy; and the IMPREX (IMproving PRedictions and management of hydrological EXtremes) general assembly was held in Chania on the Greek island of Crete from 26 to 28 September.
The main objective of ANYWHERE is to implement a pan-European multi-hazard platform and associated decision support tools. These are intended to provide emergency responders and managers of sites at risk with better identification and awareness, in time and space, of expected weather-induced impacts and potential mitigations.
IMPREX’s aim is to improve society’s ability to anticipate and respond to future hydrological extreme events (such as floods and droughts) in Europe. It will enhance the forecast quality of extreme hydro-meteorological conditions and their impacts. ANYWHERE and IMPREX are complementary projects. Both aim to improve the skill and operational uptake of forecasts of high-impact weather or climate events to facilitate better risk management in exposed communities.
The ANYWHERE meeting was held in the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa and brought together about 75 scientists and users from across the 31 partner institutions. A mixture of presentations and round-table sessions helped stimulate ideas and discussions on the best approaches to transferring and presenting environmental forecast information on a multi-hazard decision support platform. Project partners from the civil protection and commercial spheres will test the platform in operational conditions in five sites across Europe that experience multiple natural hazards (e.g. the Liguria region of Italy). These hazards include wildfires, drought, flash and coastal flooding and extreme meteorological events.
IMPREX’s general assembly was attended by 60 scientists from 23 partner institutions across Europe. IMPREX has a number of case study regions, such as the Jucar and Segura river basins in Spain and the Messara region in Greece, where the stakeholders tasked with managing water resources are exploring the use of ECMWF seasonal forecasts. Further presentations and discussions centred on the European hydrological risk outlook, data flow amongst project partners, and progress in each of the 13 work packages.
A key responsibility of ECMWF in these projects is to provide the project partners with relevant forecast output from ECMWF and the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. This output includes medium-range forecasts and re-forecasts and seasonal forecasts. In IMPREX, ECMWF’s role also includes developing and maintaining the project data management plan, thus facilitating the dissemination process between all data providers and users. In addition, ECMWF is contributing to the seasonal hydrological risk outlooks; verification practices including those of the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS); and seasonal hydrological forecasts. It is also investigating ways to improve medium-range and sub-seasonal predictions of extreme hydrological events in Europe.
ECMWF will benefit from these projects since they are likely to open up future opportunities for research and the exploitation of its forecasts. ECMWF will host the next ANYWHERE and IMPREX project meetings planned for March 2017 and May/June 2017, respectively.