ECMWF contributes to AMS Annual Meeting

Fifteen ECMWF scientists including Director-General Florence Rabier attended the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, giving a total of 32 talks and poster presentations and meeting visitors at the joint ECMWF and Copernicus-ECMWF stand.

ECMWF staff at the AMS Annual MeetingECMWF staff at the AMS Annual Meeting.

European Weather Cloud pilot launched

The European Weather Cloud pilot got under way with the first monthly co-ordination meeting between ECMWF and EUMETSAT. The project aims to provide data-related services via cloud technology to service the European Meteorological Infrastructure and its users.

New Director of Administration takes up post

Luiz de Castro Neves formally took up the role of ECMWF Director of Administration, succeeding Nyall Farrell. Luiz joined the Centre in June 2017 as Deputy Director of Administration.

Director of Administration Luiz NevesDirector of Administration Luiz Neves.

ECMWF allocated time on world’s biggest computer

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science announced ECMWF as an award winner in the 2019 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) programme. The project ‘Unprecedented scales with ECMWF’s medium-range weather prediction model’ provided a computing resource allocation of 102K Summit node-hours for ECMWF to explore the competitiveness of the spectral-transform based Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) on Summit, the biggest computer in the world.

ERA5 dataset extended back to 1979

ECMWF released a further 21 years of its global atmospheric reanalysis ERA5, extending the dataset back to 1979. The data is available from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) implemented by ECMWF on behalf of the European Union. ERA5 contains estimates of atmospheric variables such as air temperature, pressure and wind at different altitudes, as well as surface variables such as rainfall, soil moisture content and ocean wave height.

Three new ECMWF Fellows welcomed

Dr Louise Nuijens (TU Delft), Prof. Marc Bocquet (École des Ponts ParisTech) and Dr Maria-Helena Ramos (Irstea) began three-year ECMWF Fellowship terms on 1 January.

SAPP Optional Programme launched

ECMWF opened a new Optional Programme to enable Member and Co-operating States to install the Scalable Acquisition and Pre-Processing System (SAPP) in their own operational processing environments. SAPP is ECMWF’s operational acquisition and pre-processing system for observations and other input data.

APPLICATE partners meet at ECMWF

The EU-funded APPLICATE project, in which ECMWF is a partner, held its General Assembly at ECMWF, followed by an early career event. APPLICATE aims to enhance weather and climate prediction capabilities in polar regions and to understand the impact of Arctic climate change on the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes.


Training to improve use of ECMWF products in Central Asia

With the support of the World Bank, ECMWF delivered a training course to five national meteorological and hydrological services in Central Asia.


CHE-VERIFY General Assembly

The EU-funded projects CHE (CO2 Human Emissions) and VERIFY (Verifying greenhouse gas emissions) held a joint General Assembly at ECMWF with over 110 scientists and stakeholders. Coordinated by ECMWF, CHE is developing a prototype system for anthropogenic CO2 emission monitoring and, in so doing, delivering highly beneficial developments for ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS).


ECMWF represented at European Geosciences Union meeting

More than 20 ECMWF scientists presented their findings on Earth system processes related to weather, climate and atmospheric composition at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. The two Copernicus services implemented by ECMWF on behalf of the EU were strongly represented.

European State of the Climate 2018 unveiled

The EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by ECMWF presented the European State of the Climate 2018 report. One of the most significant events in 2018 was the exceptionally warm and dry spring and summer in central and northern Europe.

Workshop explores forecast databases for weather research

One hundred international scientists met at ECMWF to discuss predictability, dynamics and applications research using the TIGGE and S2S ensemble forecast databases. The TIGGE database was set up by the World Weather Research Programme and comprises operational global medium-range ensemble forecasts from ten weather forecasting centres. S2S is a similar database for forecasts up to 60 days ahead from 11 forecasting centres. It is one of the outcomes of the WMO Subseasonal-to-Seasonal (S2S) Prediction Project launched in 2013.

TIGGE/S2S workshop graphic.TIGGE/S2S workshop graphic.


European flood data available in Climate Data Store

Two European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) datasets were made available to users through the Copernicus Climate Data Store. The datasets are EFAS forecasts, which are available with a month’s delay, and a simulation forced with observations over a 30-year period. EFAS is part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) Early Warning Systems.

Data Handling System upgraded

The High-Performance Storage System (HPSS) was upgraded and the core of its environment transferred from an old AIX-based system to a much more powerful Linux-based machine. The HPSS provides the backbone of ECMWF’s Data Handling System, allowing the storage of about 300 PB of data and over 370 million files in a very large hierarchical storage environment of disk and tape storage.

Online training week launched

ECMWF’s first online training week sparked great interest among Member and Co-operating States, with 160 participants taking part. The four webinars given in 2019 covered visualisation of ECMWF data; post-processing of ECMWF data; the Meteorological Archival and Retrieval System (MARS); and compiling programs on ECMWF computers. Recordings are available on ECMWF’s website.


IFS upgraded to Cycle 46r1

ECMWF upgraded its Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) to Cycle 46r1. Notable changes included more continuous data assimilation; the introduction of a 50-member Ensemble of Data Assimilations; the use of weakly coupled data assimilation for sea-surface temperature in the tropics; and improvements in the wave model, the convection scheme, the radiation scheme and the use of observations.

Example of extra observations assimilated in a single data assimilation cycle in IFS Cycle 46r1Example of extra observations assimilated in a single data assimilation cycle in IFS Cycle 46r1.

Observational campaigns workshop

Seventy weather observation specialists and modelling experts met at ECMWF from 10 to 13 June to discuss how to maximise the benefits of observational campaigns for weather forecasting and vice versa.

Observational campaigns workshopObservational campaigns workshop.

Ensemble forecasting centre stage at user meeting

The Centre’s annual user meeting focused on ensemble forecasting, with about 100 participants considering aspects such as processing model outputs, visualisation, verification and diagnostics, and applications and impact forecasting.

New temperature records set in western Europe

In late June, large parts of western Europe experienced a severe heatwave in which many June temperature records were broken. France set an all-time national record with 46.0°C in Vérargues on 28 June. ECMWF forecasts predicted the heatwave well from 19 June. Another heatwave at the end of July saw new national temperature records being set in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

CAMS monitors unusual Arctic wildfires

Scientists from the EU-funded Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) implemented by ECMWF tracked intense and long-lived wildfires in the Arctic Circle. In June alone, the fires emitted 50 megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


More data available to WMO Members

Following decisions by ECMWF’s Council, the Centre introduced changes to give WMO Members access to a much wider range of ECMWF products. These included making all the static web charts and the ensemble meteograms on the ECMWF website available free of charge to all WMO Members and the introduction of lower-cost licences for web products and other data.

CAMS global forecasting system upgraded

Building on ECMWF’s June IFS upgrade, the global forecasting system of the EU-funded Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) was successfully upgraded, making air quality forecasts more accurate and robust.

New automatic observation quality alarm system introduced

A new automatic observation alarm system came into use, offering many more options than the previous system and making it easier to add features, checks and data types, and more importantly, covering almost all observations.


Copernicus service monitors unusually small ozone hole

Through August and September, the EU-funded Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) monitored the ozone hole, which forms annually over Antarctica during southern spring. In 2019, the development of the hole was stalled by a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) over the Antarctic, which led to a less stable and warmer polar vortex than usual, resulting in reduced ozone depletion. The 2019 ozone hole was one of the smallest since the mid-1980s and the ozone hole season was unusually short.

Ozone holeOzone hole.

ECMWF marks 40 years of operational forecasting

ECMWF recalled the events of 1 August 1979, the day on which ECMWF disseminated its first operational medium-range forecast to Member States.

Austin Woods, Adrian Simmons and Florence Rabier marking 40 years of operational forecastingAustin Woods, Adrian Simmons and Florence Rabier marking 40 years of operational forecasting.


Annual Seminar focuses on sub-seasonal and seasonal forecasting

ECMWF’s Annual Seminar reviewed advances in the understanding of predictability at sub-seasonal time scales. It presented current forecasting capabilities and summarised recent but consolidated findings from numerical experimentation and the exploitation of public databases.

Annual Seminar graphicAnnual Seminar graphic.

Ensemble data disseminated earlier

ECMWF brought forward the dissemination time for ensemble forecast (ENS) and wave ensemble forecast (ENS-WAM) daily products by 20 minutes. The dissemination schedule time of the ENS Extended products, both real-time forecast and re-forecast, was also brought forward by 120 minutes. The changes were part of ECMWF’s strategic effort to facilitate swifter access to products and to promote the use of ensemble-based forecast products.

Summer coding projects showcased

Participants and mentors in ECMWF’s 2019 Summer of Weather Code presented the outcomes of their projects at the Centre. In total, seven weather-related software developments were released, related to machine learning, data visualisation, software development, Jupyter notebooks and functionalities of open-source geographic information systems.

CDS team receives Technology Achievement Award

The ECMWF team who developed the EU-funded Copernicus C3S Climate Data Store (CDS) received the European Meteorological Society (EMS) Technology Achievement Award 2019. By December, the CDS had about 30,000 users, provided access to 45 datasets and delivered an average of 50 TB of data per day.

Hurricane Dorian hits Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian formed on 24 August in the central Atlantic and caused severe damage on the Bahamas on 1 and 2 September. It later affected the US east coast and Canada. ECMWF forecasts captured the probability for slow propagation over the Bahamas and the northward turn before Florida. However, they missed the rapid intensification starting on 31 August.

Copernicus Sentinel-3 image of Hurricane Dorian as it pummels the Bahamas on 2 September 2019. © contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA.Copernicus Sentinel-3 image of Hurricane Dorian as it pummels the Bahamas on 2 September 2019.
© contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA.


New leadership for ECMWF Copernicus Services

Jean-Noël Thépaut took up the role of ECMWF’s Director of Copernicus Services, succeeding Juan Garces de Marcilla. Jean-Noël was previously Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and was succeeded in that role by Carlo Buontempo.

Director of ECMWF Copernicus Services Jean-Noël Thépaut.Director of ECMWF Copernicus Services Jean-Noël Thépaut.


S2S pilot launched

1 November saw the launch of the Subseasonal-to-Seasonal (S2S) real-time pilot, an initiative from the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP)/World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) S2S project in collaboration with the WWRP working group on Societal and Economic Research Applications (SERA). The initiative will provide real-time access to the forecasts archived in the S2S database, currently available with a three-week delay, for 16 application projects. ECMWF is a data provider in the project and the main S2S data archiving centre.

Data exchange to improve early warnings

ECMWF joined Directors of national meteorological and hydrological services in south-east Europe in signing a policy on the exchange of hydrological and meteorological data, information, forecasts and advisories under the umbrella of the WMO project South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System (SEE-MHEWS-A). The project is funded by the World Bank and aims to strengthen the existing early warning capacity in the region.

Global Flood Awareness System upgraded

ECMWF and the EU-funded Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) launched a new release of the Global Flood Awareness System, GloFAS 2.1, in collaboration with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). It includes an upgraded river discharge reanalysis based on officially released ERA5 data; a new set of flood and seasonal re-forecasts; upgraded flood thresholds; new global flood risk assessment and mapping products; and additional web layers.

© ChiccoDodiFC / iStock / Getty Images Plus© ChiccoDodiFC / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Wildfire and river flow reanalyses released through CDS

The first river discharge and fire danger reanalyses to be updated in near real time were released through the Copernicus Climate Data Store (CDS). The datasets, produced by ECMWF for the EU-funded Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS), provide daily information over the whole of the globe stretching back almost 40 years.

Quality management certification renewed

ECMWF’s quality management certification to the ISO9001:2015 standard was renewed for a further three years.


Pre-operational data quality monitoring webtool released

ECMWF became the official provider of the WIGOS Data Quality Monitoring System (WDQMS) webtool, which was released on ECMWF kubernetes infrastructure in pre-operational mode. The tool monitors the availability and quality of observational data based on monitoring information from the Monitoring Centres of the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS).

Council appoints President and Vice-President

The ECMWF Council elected Juhani Damski (Finland) as its President and Silvio Cau (Italy) as its Vice-President, both for a first term of office for one year. Dr Christina Koepken-Watts from Germany was elected as a new member of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

Prof. Juhani Damski, Director-General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.Prof. Juhani Damski, Director-General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

ECMWF represented at American Geophysical Union meeting

ECMWF was well represented at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, USA. In addition to staff giving talks and presenting posters, ECMWF had two exhibition booths showcasing the activities of core ECMWF and Copernicus. Staff also took part in the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Climate Science Week that celebrated 40 years of international climate science.

Green light for new supercomputer contract

ECMWF’s Council authorised the Director-General to enter into contractual arrangements with Atos for the supply of a BullSequana XH2000 high-performance computing facility, to be hosted in the new ECMWF data centre being developed in Bologna, Italy.

2019 second warmest year on record

Data from the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) showed that 2019 was the fifth in a series of exceptionally warm years and the second warmest year globally ever recorded.

Temperature difference between 2019 and 1981–2010.Temperature difference between 2019 and 1981–2010.