The High-Impact Weather Project (HIWeather)

  • WMO Members

Increasing resilience to high-impact weather

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of high-impact weather events, exacerbating their social and economic blow on people and infrastructure, especially in areas experiencing rapid population growth and increasing urbanization. Significant progress and advances in scientific understanding, monitoring and prediction of weather have been made in recent years; however, statistics on weather-related losses show that there are gaps in the application of this knowledge to both the routine and complex weather-related problems faced by society. This motivated the WMO World Weather Research Programme in 2015 to launch a 10-year international research project, which will advance the prediction of hazards resulting from urban flooding, disruptive winter weather, wildfires, localized extreme wind and urban heat & air quality. 

The following steps have to be taken to close the gap in the application of scientific breakthroughs to the weather-related problems and are in the scope of HIWeather:

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration between the research community, stakeholders and users of weather information is required to identify the gaps and address them
  • Seamless prediction of high-impact weather events at a wide range of scales – from nowcasting to seasonal prediction – must be improved, with a particular focus on smaller scales
  • Relevant and targeted communication of forecasts and warnings, including information on potential consequences of high-impact events, together with user-oriented verification, is crucial for capitalizing on the achievements made in the prediction of high-impact weather events.

The five HIWeather research areas

HIWeather research is guided by the idea of an end-to-end approach for the provision and improvement of forecasts and warnings for high-impact weather events, from understanding, observing and predicting the phenomenon, to a appropriate communication of forecasts and warnings. Focus of research activities under HIWeather is put on the following five topics:

  • Processes and Predictability
  • Multi-scale Forecasting
  • Vulnerability and Risk
  • Communication
  • Evaluation

Principles governing the outcomes of HIWeather 

The successful implementation of HIWeather activities is guided by several principles that ensure the relevance and applicability of the research outcomes

  • Application in the operational forecasting process
  • Observing networks that support small and large scale capability
  • Uncertainty predictability from meteorology to hazards and the reaction of people
  • Field campaigns and demonstration projects to build local capacity and understanding
  • Knowledge transfer in the areas of forecasting, warnings and communication
  • Verification to inform and evaluate research
  • Impact forecasting that will mitigate weather-related hazard impacts
  • Data management and archiving

Further Information

Project webpage:


High-Impact Weather list of direct donors:

  • Deutscher Wetterdienst (Germany)
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canada)
  • Met Office (UK)
  • Norwegian Meteorological Institute (Norway)

High-Impact Weather list of indirect donors:

  • Hosting of International Coordination Office: China
  • Hosting of communication website: New Zealand
  • Hosting of events: China, UK