Full version of HIWeather News Letter in Jan 2020:
Recent months have highlighted the challenges faced by communities across the world in building resilience to weather-related hazards in a changing climate. Warning systems are a critical component of resilience and the work of HIWeather becomes increasingly important as climate change accelerates. As we enter a new year, we celebrate HIWeather’s achievements to date and look forward to the new challenges we set ourselves at the HIWeather Steering Group meeting last October, conscious of the important role HIWeather plays in a research landscape that has many players, few of which can command HIWeather’s breadth of scientific input from its task teams or HIWeather’s global influence through the WMO membership.
The citizen science initiative is making good progress and is on track to provide guidance to WMO members later this year. The publishers have accepted our proposed outline and writing team for a book based on the Five Valleys of Death concept following excellent reviews. We are still working on the end-to-end case studies concept, which was circulated in late December. Current thinking is that this should be an ambitious initiative, aiming to pull together material from reviews of historical disasters so as to provide an integrated evidence base for research towards the ideal future warning system.
In October, I joined the COST Damocles meeting in Tallinn, Estonia to discuss compound risks. This European project is doing some interesting work in identifying and classifying the nature of both compound hazards and compound impacts. While much of the work was focused on multiple flooding hazards, there were some very interesting examples of pre-conditioning, especially in agriculture: e.g. Loss of crop due to a wet Winter followed by a cold Spring. From a warning point of view, I was particularly impressed by the Red Cross example of the Dzud in Mongolia, which kills livestock when a dry summer is followed by a cold winter – the stock being malnourished after the drought and unable to forage through the snow for winter feed. The warning system is initiated following a dry summer and uses a seasonal forecast for the following winter to decide whether the Red Cross should intervene with grants to enable especially vulnerable families to purchase fodder.
In December I took part in a Symposium on Impact Based Forecast and Warning Services, held at the Met Office in Exeter and organised by the Public Weather Services Delivery programme of WMO. Following a very fruitful two days of presentations and discussions, the participants were charged with preparing an update of the 2015 WMO Guidelines on Multi-hazard Impact-based Forecast and Warning Services. HIWeather is contributing significantly to this exercise, which is planned for completion in July.
I recently spent a hectic week in Boston at the AMS Centenary Annual Meeting. It was great to catch up with so many HIWeather task team members there and to meet with Jen Sprague from the HIWeather Advisory Group to discuss increased US involvement. The growth of cross-disciplinary symposia at AMS has been spectacular and it is no longer possible to go to all of the sessions on Societal Applications. I heard results from some excellent research being carried out in the context of the NWS FACETS project, which I hope HIWeather can connect with more closely.
Looking forward, we are starting to plan for a HIWeather workshop in October, probably in Beijing, and I invite you to get involved in one of the new initiatives in citizen science or in end-to-end case studies, or to link your own project to HIWeather through our endorsement scheme advertised on the HIWeather home page at http://hiweather.net.