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2005 2014… Accelerating improvements in the accuracy of one-day to two weeks high-impact weather forecasts for the benefit of society, economy and environment

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Accelerating improvements in the accuracy

of one-day to two weeks high-impact weather forecasts

for the benefit of society, economy and environment

A photographic collage depicting the societal, economic and ecological impacts of severe weather associated with four Rossby wave-trains that encircled the globe during November 2002.


what is thorpex
What is THORPEX?
  • THORPEX was established in May 2003 by the Fourteenth World Meteorological Congress as a ten-year international global atmospheric research and development programme under the auspices of the WMO Commission for Atmospheric Sciences (CAS).
  • THORPEX is a part of the WMO World Weather Research Programme (WWRP)
  • The acronym!
  • THe Observing System Research and Predictability EXperiment
  • To reduce and mitigate natural disasters;
  • To fully realise the societal and economic benefits of improved weather forecasts

especially in developing and least developed countries.

This is achievable by transforming timely and accurate weather forecasts(1) into specific and definite information in support of decisions(2) that produce the desired societal and economic outcomes(3)

    • Extending the range of skilful weather forecasts to time scales of value in decision-making (up to 14 days) using probabilistic ensemble forecast techniques;
    • Developing accurate and timely weather warnings in a form that can be readily used in decision-making support tools;
    • Assessing the impact of weather forecasts and associated outcomes on the development of mitigation strategies to minimise the impact of natural hazards.

THORPEX is an international research programme of WMO aimed at extending the limits of predictability, and at increasing the accuracy of high-impact weather forecasts from day 1 to day 14.

THORPEX builds upon ongoing advances within the basic-research and operational-forecasting communities. It will make progress by enhancing international collaboration between these communities, such as WGNE/WWRP/CBS and with users of forecast products.

principal tasks
Principal Tasks

THORPEX International Science Plan

Research on weather forecasts from 1 to 14 days lead time

4 research sub-programmes:

  • Predictability and Dynamical Processes;
  • Observing Systems;
  • Data Assimilation and Observing Strategies;
  • Societal and Economic Applications

Full version of THORPEX International Science Plan

principal tasks6
Principal Tasks

THORPEX International Science Plan

  • Emphasis on ensemble prediction
  • Emphasis on global-to-regional influences on weather forecast skill
  • Interactive forecast systems “tuned” for end users using targeted observations called on in ‘sensitive areas’, adaptive data assimilation, grid computing
principal tasks7
Principal Tasks

THORPEX International Science Plan

  • THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble
  • Polar Regions (IPY)

Atmospheric predictability in the Polar Regions and those parts of the world influenced by the Polar Regions, understanding specific weather phenomena, improving the use of satellite and in situ data from high latitudes


THORPEX and WCRP bridge weather and climate forecasting into seamless predictions from day to decade

  • THORPEX Regional Campaigns

- the 2003 A-TReC ( consistent forecast improvements)

- Pacific- TReC ( in planning phase)


THORPEX International Implementation Plan

Approved by the ICSC on 2 December 2004.

Connected with

  • WWW, DPM, WMO Space Programme, WCRP, WCP, HWR, AMP
  • Regional research programmes
  • International initiatives (e.g. IPY, GEOSS);

implementation plan intersection with climate



Time Scale (Years)




Coordinate development of observing systems for weather and climate prediction

Compare observing needs of weather and climate forecasting

Develop synergistic observing practices for weather and climate forecasting

Optimize observing networks for weather and climate forecasting

Development of unified weather-climate data assimilation and prediction system

Study coupled ocean-land-atmosphere model initialization and model drift problems

Demonstrated improvement in forecast skill in critical range through use of atmosphere, land and oceanic initial conditions

Convergence of weather and climate forecasts: Coupled ocean-atmosphere-land forecast model application on scales of 1-70 days

Develop tools for seamless socio-economic applications of weather and climate forecast

Compare weather and climate forecast applications

Develop application tools suitable with both weather and climate forecasting

Demonstrate value of seamless weather-climate forecast applications

Implementation PlanIntersection with Climate
intersection with climate
Intersection with climate
  • Envisage a unified approach to weather-climate forecasting ( within 10 yrs)
  • Calls for much closer collaboration between these communities
  • THORPEX will help build links to achieve more skilful forecasts in the 10-60 day range
synergistic observing system
SYNERGISTIC Observing System
  • Observational needs of weather/climate forecasting and monitoring overlap
  • Both need definition of the upper layers of the ocean – as well as atmosphere/land for initial conditions
  • Traditionally observational needs have discussed/evaluated in separate contexts
  • We need a synergistic use of limited observational resources
  • THORPEX ia ready to work with the developers of the climate observing system
an approach
An Approach
  • Consider performance measures for both applications that could be used in optimising the observing network
  • Assess observational needs in a common framework seeking to optimise systems to satisfy both communities
  • Explore observing techniques- e.g. adaptive observations
  • Improve timeliness of ocean data to coupled ocean-land models( few hours)
  • Begin integrations at high resolution switching to lower after a few weeks.
implementation plan demonstration projects
Implementation PlanDemonstration Projects
  • Demonstrate social and economic benefits that would result from the operational implementation of new forecasting tools and techniques
    • Disaster mitigation and reduction in developing and least developed countries (e.g., Flood response)
    • Economic efficiency in developed countries (e.g. Energy generation)
  • 4 components to these projects:
    • The ensemble forecasting system, which provides a probabilistic forecast;
    • An interpreted weather forecast;
    • Decision support tools derived from the probabilistic forecast; and
    • Evaluation of the use of the decision support tool.
  • Candidate projects:
    • Global Prediction; Flood Mitigation in Europe (France flash floods), Chile, South East Asia; Water Management in North Africa and Middle East, Increasing Efficiency in Electrical Generation in North America, Special Events (Beijing Olympics Games), Sand and Dust Storm Research and other projects (in development).
implementation plan management support resources
Implementation PlanManagement, Support, Resources
  • Management Plan
  • Data Management and Policy
  • Financial Plan
  • Implementation Schedule


    • Voluntary contributions of participating countries (national budgets) in support of activities;
    • Support of IPO and priority activities – WMO Trust Fund (USA, Canada, United Kingdom,France, China, Norway), secondments of experts to the IPO (China, other plans…);
    • Mobilisation of external resources
thorpex and international initiatives
THORPEX and international initiatives
  • THORPEX is the research meteorological component of the International Polar Year 2007-2008
    • Atmospheric predictability in the Polar Regions
    • Improving use of satellite and in situ data from high latitudes
  • THORPEX sets observational requirements for weather prediction -> GEOSS
  • THORPEX is one of the key contributors to the WMO Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Programme -> ISDR
how is it organised implementation phase22
How is it Organised? – Implementation phase
    • Senior representatives of leading nations
    • Chairs of Regional Committees
    • Chairs of relevant programmes committees
    • Senior representatives of participating international organisations
  • Regional Committees (North American, European, Asian)
  • National entities
  • Subcommittees on IPY, Resource Mobilisation
  • Coordinators of major THORPEX sub-programmes
  • Leaders of demonstration projects
  • International Programme Office at the WMO Secretariat
current members of the icsc
Current members of the ICSC
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • Norway
  • Republic of Korea
  • Russian Federation
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • USA
  • CBS
  • CGMS
the way forward
The Way Forward
  • Feedback/comments/advice?
  • Best approach to establishing effective links – contact points?
  • Future planning, communication and collaboration
  • Support for the TReCs etc.,