WMO pilots e-learning courses on impact-based forecasting

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WMO is piloting a series of e-learning courses on impact-based forecasting, as part of a coordinated campaign to train the meteorological community to develop and communicate forecasts not just of the weather he will do, but also on what he will do.

The first of the courses runs from August 29 to September 16 in a hybrid maritime services course for the Pacific Islands, which are particularly prone to extreme weather and are at the frontline of the impacts of climate change.

It is expected that this education and training tool will then be deployed more widely, providing a user-friendly and interactive platform for WMO guidance on multi-hazard impact-based forecasting and warning services. Better risk and impact communication underpins decision-making and risk management to save lives and will guide the development of WMO’s roadmap to ensure early warnings reach all in the next five years.

“The paradigm shift towards impact-based forecasting and warning services (IBFWS) represents a communication challenge for hydro-meteorological services, as well as for users and decision-makers. To facilitate this shift, we are developing an IBFWS ‘ecosystem’, including this e-learning course, to help build capacity and share experiences on the subject,” says Carolina Cerrudo, Expert Team Co-Chair on the provision of general services.

The online course uses text, interactive graphics, case studies, and activities to introduce the basic concepts of impact-based predictive warning systems. 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 fields.

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 Pacific countries have registered for the Marine Services Course, organized by the Cook Islands Meteorological Service. It aims to strengthen service delivery, influence forecasting skills and expand networking opportunities in the marine services community. The hybrid course will be followed by a face-to-face session at the end of September.

WMO updated its guidance on impact-based multi-hazard forecasting 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 services. forecasting and warning services for cascading multiple hazards (e.g. tropical cyclone, which triggers flooding, storm surges, wind damage, impacts on infrastructure, transport and energy and on health systems).

The new edition benefits from extensive research on exposure and vulnerability and incorporates many contributions from service providers and the user community. It emphasizes the paramount importance of partnerships and dialogue between scientists, forecasters, disaster managers, community leaders and policy makers. It also embraces the concepts of anticipatory action – using weather and climate information to underpin humanitarian interventions such as building shelter before a tropical cyclone makes landfall and using forecast-based funding to limit the impact of drought or flooding.

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