ECMWF meets Ibero-American weather services

Xavier Abellan


Opening session
Opening session. The meeting brought together Directors and delegates from 20 Ibero-American national meteorological and hydrological services.

ECMWF was kindly invited to attend the 13th CIMHET meeting (Conference of the Directors of Ibero-American Meteorological and Hydrological Services), which took place in Antigua, Guatemala, from 23 to 25 November. The event was organised and coordinated by Spain’s meteorological agency, AEMET, and held in Spanish. Every one and a half years it brings together the Directors and delegates from 20 Ibero-American national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHS).

Our mission was to present and raise awareness of ECMWF products and licences available to them as World Meteorological Organization NMHS, as well as outlining ECMWF’s new Strategy 2016–2025. The presentation was very well received. Many countries were impressed by the web and ecCharts products and showed an interest in having access to the data.

As part of the visit, we provided a demonstration account for the web NMHS non-commercial licence. This was also highly appreciated and prompted positive feedback. Colombia and Mexico, the two countries already holding a full WMO NMHS licence, expressed their satisfaction with the quality of the products they receive and recognised that they play a key role in their forecasts.

The meeting was structured around three main topics:

  • Training
  • Institutional development and resource allocation
  • Meteorological, hydrological and climatological service delivery

The forum started back in 2003 to increase the cooperation and coordination among NMHS in the region and to build a closer community among countries that share more than just the language, face the same challenges and have similar needs.

The conference took place at the Training Centre of the Spanish Cooperation in Antigua, an old school founded in 1608 by the Jesuits. Over the years it has had many uses, including as a fabric factory and a market. Following substantial refurbishment, it now hosts one of the four training centres that the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) has in the Latin American region.

As chance would have it, a small earthquake interrupted my presentation for a minute! Thankfully no evacuation was needed because Antigua was far away from the epicentre and just experienced a small tremor.

Overall, the participants were pleased that someone from ECMWF had attended the meeting and contributed to it, as was formally acknowledged in the Declaration of the 13th CIMHET Meeting. More information about the conference can be found at (in Spanish).