ECMWF Newsletter #164

User workshop aids European Weather Cloud development

Stephan Siemen
Xavier Abellan
Cristian Simarro (all ECMWF)
Joachim Saalmüller
Mike Grant
Jörg Schulz (all EUMETSAT)

 

A joint EUMETSAT-ECMWF workshop on use cases for the European Weather Cloud was held on 27 May 2020. During the pilot phase of the European Weather Cloud, use cases are an important way for us to work with Member States to develop the future cloud service. The workshop attracted much interest in our Member States with over 200 registrations and over 185 participants online at peak times.

The workshop was split in three sessions:

  • In the first session, the two user support teams involved at EUMETSAT and ECMWF gave an overview of the capabilities of the current system. They also showed how users can access the system. 
  • The second session presented five use cases on the cloud. They included the support given to Croatia after the recent earthquake both on the EUMETSAT and ECMWF side, the hosting of the Dutch national meteorological service’s Climate Explorer and the development of a Jupyter-based platform to enable machine learning research in cooperation with the University of Oxford.
  • The third session allowed participants to ask questions and to discuss feedback from the use cases. The feedback from the audience was very positive and gave very valuable input for upcoming developments on the cloud. Thanks also to the sli.do Q&A system used in parallel, over 46 user questions on usage of the cloud could be collected and answered.

Workshop participants.
Workshop participants. The European Weather Cloud workshop took place online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Outcome of the Q&A discussion

Most of the 46 questions and comments received in the Q&A session were related to technical aspects. These questions covered areas from the basic setup to more advanced topics, e.g. on technical solutions for container orchestrations. These questions were addressed by technical staff attending the session at the time. A group of questions concerned data access. This is unsurprising since fast and localised access to large datasets is the main advantage of the European Weather Cloud. Comments from participants showed that there is interest in harmonising access between EUMETSAT and ECMWF. Some questions enquired about how to get access to and host services on the system. These, and some more direct questions on documentation, showed that the joint Service Desk space and documentation for the European Weather Cloud needs to be advertised more widely.

More information about the meeting, including presentations and records of the Q&A session, can be found on the meeting web page: https://bit.ly/2BpWbRm. The plan is to repeat such workshops every six months, and the next one is scheduled for November 2020.