Record numbers attend ECMWF’s NWP courses

Sarah Keeley


This year a record number of more than 150 participants attended ECMWF’s advanced numerical weather prediction (NWP) courses. These unique courses are designed to meet some of the training needs of ECMWF’s Member and Co-operating States. They focus on the underlying theory of numerical weather prediction but relate it to an operational setting, with an emphasis on processes relevant for forecasting from the medium to seasonal time range. Much of the course material is theoretical but we include practical and discussion sessions to build on what is presented in lectures and consolidate understanding.

Participant feedback from this year’s courses

Despite being already experienced on these topics, I found the course very instructive. Other than being exceptional scientists, lecturers demonstrated that they are effective teachers, and classes were overall very useful for my career. I have no other suggestion, except for saying: Keep going this way!

A very full but interesting course. Practical sessions and/or audience participation helped to drive home many of the messages. Very friendly and good lecturers. Thanks for a very informative and good week!

The face-to-face training courses provide a networking hub for researchers and forecasters to exchange ideas with each other and ECMWF staff. One of the key pieces of feedback we receive each year from attendees is how much they appreciate the time research staff give to them informally during the course. Discussions during coffee breaks and evening social events mean that the learning and networking goes beyond the time spent in the classroom.

Our courses also benefit from collaboration. For example, we have been able to expand the training devoted to the research area of satellite data assimilation through the co-funding provided by EUMETSAT through their NWP-SAF programme. In addition, the UK’s National Centre for Earth Observation based at the University of Reading runs an introductory two-day training course on data assimilation ahead of our more advanced course.

ECMWF’s classroom
ECMWF’s classroom. The NWP training courses combine lectures with practical and discussion sessions.

We also share the training materials for those unable to attend the courses in a face-to-face setting. Some participants attend the course to help them develop their own training programmes. Lecture handouts are publicly available after the course in the Learning section of the ECMWF website ( Next year some of the courses will benefit from the eLearning modules being produced and will be delivered in a blended format: some pre-course study will be undertaken using the new online modules rather than just pre-course reading.

The deadline for training course applications is 28 September 2017. This is earlier than in previous years so that confirmation notices can go out earlier, which should help to keep down travel and accommodation costs for participants. Descriptions of the courses and how to apply can be found at

NWP courses for 2018

Data assimilation 12–16 March 2018
EUMETSAT/ECMWF NWP-SAF Satellite data assimilation 19–23 March 2018
Advanced numerical methods for Earth system modelling 16–20 April 2018
Parametrization of subgrid physical processes 23–27 April 2018
Predictability and ensemble forecast systems 30 April–4 May 2018