The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), a long-standing partner of WMO in capacity building, is now applying its numerical weather prediction expertise to help assess operational capabilities in WMO Member States and Territories. In March, Anna Ghelli, ECMWF’s international liaison officer, joined the WMO on a visit to Saudi Arabia’s national meteorological service as part of a numerical weather prediction expert team.
The Saudi Arabia General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection has embarked on a major modernization project that includes the development of numerical weather prediction capacity. It has also asked for advice in the areas of observations, climate services, public weather services, atmospheric research and environmental protection. The visit came one year after the General Authority signed up to receive ECMWF data under a non-commercial license specifically designed for WMO Members. Saudi Arabia has been connected to the ECMWF managed Regional Meteorological Data Communication Network (RMDCN) since 2005.
The WMO Executive Council meeting in May (EC-65) recognized ECMWF as a World Meteorological Centre along with Beijing, Exeter, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, Tokyo, and Washington DC. In June, ECMWF confirmed its support, amongst others, for the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Projects (SWFDPs) in the operational phase, and that it would provide reliable access to ECMWF ocean data for Member State users. It also agreed to the WMO Secretary-General’s request to make graphical products, and associated training, available to support the WMO contribution to the UN system and other international organisations.
ECMWF’s current ten-year strategy includes an explicit commitment to support training and capacity building of WMO Members. This partnership ranges from providing essential data, to supporting fellowships and projects, in order to improve severe weather forecasting in developing countries.