The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is piloting a series of e-learning courses on impact-based forecasting.
The courses are part of a coordinated approach to train the meteorological community in developing and communicating forecasts that state not only what the weather will be but also what it will do.
The first of the courses is being conducted from August 29 to September 16 during a hybrid Marine Services Course for the Pacific Islands, which are particularly exposed to extreme weather and are on the frontline of climate-change impacts.
The education and training tool will then be rolled out more widely, providing a user-friendly, interactive platform for WMO’s Guidelines on Multi-hazard Impact-based Forecast and Warning Service.
Better communication of risk and impacts underpins decision making and risk management to save lives, and will guide the development of WMO’s roadmap to ensure that early warnings reach everyone in the next five years.
Carolina Cerrudo, co-chair of the WMO’s Expert Team on General Service Delivery (ET-GSD), said, “The paradigm shift toward impact-based forecast and warning services (IBFWS) represents a communication challenge for hydrometeorological services, as well as for users and decision makers. To aid this shift, we’re developing an IBFWS ‘ecosystem’, including this e-learning course, to help build capacities and share experiences on the subject.”
The online course makes use of text, interactive graphics, case studies and activities to introduce the basic concepts of IBFWS. After completing the four-part course, participants will be better equipped to strengthen an impact-based approach in hydrometeorological services, disaster risk reduction and related areas.
The modules cover the potential benefits of an IBFWS approach; the key tools needed to implement a roadmap; collaboration and partnership strategies; and effective risk communication to support decision making.
Currently, 25 participants from 10 countries in the Pacific have enrolled in the Marine Services course, which is hosted by the Cook Islands Meteorological Service. It aims to strengthen service delivery and impact forecasting skills and expand networking opportunities in the marine services community. The hybrid course will be followed by a face-to-face session in late September.
WMO updated its Guidelines on Multi-hazard Impact-based Forecast and Warning Services in December 2021. The guidance provides practical information and case studies on how to move from weather forecasts and warnings issued by national meteorological and hydrological services to the provision of impact-based forecast and warning services of multiple cascading hazards (for instance, a tropical cyclone that triggers flooding, storm surge, wind damage, and impacts on infrastructure, transport, energy and health systems).
The new edition benefits from significant research into exposure and vulnerability and incorporates extensive input from service providers and the user community. It underlines the paramount importance of partnerships and dialogue between scientists, forecasters, disaster managers, community leaders and decision makers. It also embraces the concepts of anticipatory actions – using weather and climate information to underpin humanitarian interventions such as shelter strengthening before a tropical cyclone makes landfall and using forecast-based financing to limit the impact of a drought or flood.