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Lessons from the Southern African Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP). Eugene Poolman South African Weather Service Pretoria, South Africa Peter Chen Chief, Data Processing and Forecasting Division World Meteorological Organization Geneva, Switzerland

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Lessons from the southern african severe weather forecasting demonstration project swfdp l.jpg

Lessons from the Southern AfricanSevere Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP)

Eugene Poolman

South African Weather Service

Pretoria, South Africa

Peter Chen

Chief, Data Processing and Forecasting Division

World Meteorological Organization

Geneva, Switzerland

3rd THORPEX International Science Symposium

Monterey, California

14 – 18 September 2009



The challenge mitigating the growing technological gap in weather forecasting l.jpg
The Challenge: mitigating the growing technological gap in weather forecasting

  • Dramatic developments in weather forecasting science over the past two decades – advances in monitoring and NWP and Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS),

  • leading to improved alerting of weather hazards, at increased lead-times of warnings

  • Developing countries, LDCs, saw little progress due to limited budgets, failing infrastructure, inadequate guidance and expertise,

  • increasing gap in application of advanced technology (NWP, EPS) in early warnings

  • WMO SWFDP attempts to close this gap by increasing availability, and developing capacity to use existing NWP and EPS in countries where it is not effectively used

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Slide4 l.jpg

WMO Project: SWFDP weather forecasting

  • WMO developed the SWFDP to improve severe weather forecasting and warning services in NMHSs where sophisticated NWP/EPS outputs are not currently used

  • First SWFDP regional project in Southern Africa, Nov 2006 to Nov 2007

  • Principal focus: heavy rain and strong winds

RSMC Pretoria SWF Daily Guidance Product (7 Jan. 2007)


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SWFDP MAIN GOALS weather forecastingCBS-XIII (2005)

  • To improve ability of NMHSs to forecast severe weather events

  • To improve lead-time of alerting of these events

  • To improve interaction of NMHSs with DMCPAs before and during events

  • To identify gaps and areas for improvement

  • To improve the skill of products from GDPFS Centres through feedback from NMHSs

    DMCPA – disaster management and civil protection authority

    GDPFS – Global Data Processing and Forecasting System (WMO)


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First SWFDP project weather forecasting

  • The NMHSs of: Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe

  • The regional centres: RSMC Pretoria, RSMC La Réunion

  • Global products centres: ECMWF, Met Office UK, and NCEP USA

  • Regional project management structure:

    • Regional subproject management team, with PRs/Directors designated members and Terms of Reference

    • WMO support (CBS and Secretariat)

    • Regional interest: SADC and MASA

  • preparatory and annual training workshops conducted for forecasters


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SWFDP Cascading Forecasting Process weather forecasting

  • Cascading Process throughout Southern Africa:

    • Global NWP centres to provide available NWP and EPS products, including in the form of probabilities;

    • Regional centres to interpret information received from global NWP centres, prepare daily guidance products (out to day-5) for NMCs, run limited-area model to refine products, maintain RSMC Web site, liaise with the participating NMCs;

    • NMCs to issue alerts, advisories, severe weather warnings; to liaise with Disaster Management, and to contribute feedback and evaluation of the project;

    • NMCs have access to all products, and maintained responsibility and authority over national warnings and services.

Disaster Management Centres

Global Centers

RSMC Pretoria

NMCs


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Regional: weather forecasting

RSMC Pretoria

SWFDP flows

  • - 5-day guidance daily

  • 12-km UM LAM (SA12)

  • Additional MSG products

  • Global:

  • NOAA, ECMWF,

  • Met Office

  • NWP products

  • EPS products

SWFDP Web Portal

  • National:

  • NMCs of all Southern African

  • countries

  • Improved forecasting

  • 5 day lead-time on warnings when needed

  • Improved coordination with disaster management

  • Feedback on NWP, EPS, RSMC guidance



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Testing the Impact: weather forecastingTropical Cyclone Favio

“Public Benefits of SWFDP in south-eastern Africa”, E. Poolman, H. Chickoore, F.Lucio, WMO MeteoWorld, Dec. 2008)

http://www.wmo.int/pages/publications/meteoworld/archive/dec08/swfdp_en.html


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Forecasting Tropical Cyclone Favio weather forecasting

  • TC Favio caused widespread damage over Mozambique and Zimbabwe from 20-24 Feb 2007

  • It provided the opportunity to test the SWFDP cascading process

  • It contributed to the lessons learned in the demonstration period


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Impact of TC Favio weather forecasting

  • The model guidance correctly

    indicated landfall 5 days in advance:

    location, and movement towards Zimbabwe

  • Both Mozambique and Zimbabwe’s NMCs issued

    warnings 5 days in advance to disaster management departments

  • Mozambique:

    • Provinces were put on alert levels 2 to 3 days in advance

    • The public responded well and major loss of life was prevented – 9 deaths

  • Zimbabwe:

    • Public received early warnings by radio, TV and newspapers 5 days in advance

    • BUT… the public did not react until the first heavy downpours


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Lessons from SWFDP weather forecasting


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Usefulness of NWP and EPS weather forecasting

  • NWP generally useful, higher resolution UM SA12 proved to be very useful

  • For all five NMHSs this was their first time working with EPS products operationally

  • EPS products were very useful and aided to:

    • Extend the lead-time of forecasts and warnings

    • Increased forecaster confidence on all forecasts

  • Challenges in the tropical regions particularly

    • NWP struggle to predict localized, sudden on-set severe convection and strong winds

    • NWP and EPS are not giving good guidance on organized convection in the tropical areas a few days in advance

  • Question: which are the best parameters in EPS products to identify possible organized severe tropical convection?


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Results from Demonstration Phase weather forecasting

  • Overall: the five NMHSs confirmed that the new approach is demonstrating significant benefits and improved early warnings

  • SWFDP was a successful demonstration how developing countries can be assisted to reduce the technology gap in weather forecasting to support operational severe weather forecasting and warning services

  • Southern African countries at WMO Congress (2007) highlighted:

    • Successful recipe demonstrating real benefit to developing countries

    • High impact, low cost, with visible operational results

    • Appreciation for contributing centres of the GDPFS

  • SWFDP provides a practical and beneficial operational platform for preparation and dissemination of early warnings in Southern Africa


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Challenges (•) and Opportunities ( weather forecasting√)

  • Forecasting tools better used, but a gap in nowcasting tools evident:

    • No radars, thus must be MSG satellite based

  • There were data communication challenges

    • Need to use satellite-broadcast platforms, for example EUMETCAST

  • Interaction between NMHSs, disaster management authorities, media; reaction of public to warnings is still not optimal

    • Develop enhanced products and services to disaster management

    • Develop ongoing coordination between forecasters and disaster managers and the media

    • Carry out public awareness raising campaigns


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SWFDP - General Lessons weather forecasting

  • Accelerated implementation of outputs from advanced NWP/EPS in developing countries

  • Continuous learning by forecasters

  • Tight cycle of demonstration, adapting to regional needs, evaluation, and implementation

  • Contributing to learning practical probabilistic forecasting methods

  • Increased visibility, credibility, and value of meteorological services

  • New role for WMO regional centres (RSMC) in severe weather forecasting for the region


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SWFDP – Southern Africa weather forecastingWay Forward – underway

  • Expand SWFDP to include all 16 countries in southern Africa region (implementation plan to 2011)

    • All season, multi-hazards

    • Emphasize warnings (exchange, verification, public feedback) and services

  • 2-week training of forecasters and disaster managers of 16 countries (Nov 2008, Oct 2009, Q4/2010)

  • Incorporate flood forecasting (regional flash flood guidance)

  • marine/ocean, aviation forecasting aspects

  • GIFS/TIGGE FDP (TC prediction, heavy precipitation, week-2)

  • Other regional projects (e.g. South Pacific Islands)


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SUMMARY weather forecasting

  • SWFDP was a successful demonstration how developing countries can be assisted to reduce the technology gap in weather forecasting to support operational severe weather forecasting

  • It is essential to extend the SWFDP to the other countries in Southern Africa, with increasing focus on warning services

  • There are a number of areas that need urgent attention, particularly nowcasting technology, and improved partnerships with disaster management authorities

  • It is also now time to plan towards the next level of warning services, i.e. a comprehensive multi-hazard EWS for the region


Thank you pchen@wmo int eugene poolman@weathersa co za l.jpg
Thank You! weather [email protected]@weathersa.co.za

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