Project Summary

Summary of main characteristics of HAREN


Duration (Months): 18

Title: Hazard Assessment based on Rainfall European Nowcasts


The Project will focus on improving precipitation forecasting for anticipating hazards induced by precipitation. In this framework, the following are the specific problems that are going to be addressed:

a) Reduced coverage of National radar networks limits the performance of the nowcasting techniques, resulting in reduced anticipation of precipitation hazards that rarely go beyond the first 2-3 hours (examples can be found all over Europe: e.g. in Austria, Bica et al. 2010; in Finland, Hohti et al. 2000; in Italy, Conway et al. 2007; in Spain, Berenguer et al. 2005; Corral et al. 2009; in Switzerland, Panziera et al. 2010). By using OPERA mosaics at Continental scale we intend to overcome the limitations of National radar mosaics. This will allow extending the anticipation with which accurate precipitation forecasts are issued to reduce location and timing errors as well as the misses and false alarms within precipitation-induced hazard assessment systems.

b) Need for high-resolution precipitation forecasts. The use of radar maps fulfils the requirements on temporal and spatial resolution of precipitation inputs of many of the applications involved in risk assessment (such as flood forecasting in medium and small basins). The Project will develop a system for precipitation nowcasting at Continental scale. Also, an improved nowcasting version will be developed based on the combined use of different sensors and NWP models.

c) Nowcasting products need to be adapted to the type of precipitation and include uncertainty assessment. The system to be implemented at Continental scale will have three levels: (i) a main nowcasting system based on the identification of the motion of the precipitation field estimated by radar, (ii) an improved version including the combination with multi-sensor observations (satellite and lightning) and NWP forecasts, as well as with an object-oriented technique to improve the nowcasting of mesoscale convective systems, or squall lines, and (iii) an advanced probabilistic nowcasting system based on the generation of ensembles for the rainfall forecasts, which will provide a measure of the uncertainties associated to the forecasts.

d) Once precipitation forecasts are issued, hazard assessment is necessary. The same event does not imply the same hazard in different locations (as the probability of exceedance of a given amount of precipitation significantly depends on location). Within the Project a hazard identification system will be demonstrated based on probabilistic precipitation forecasts at the same resolution and over the entire Europe.

The main challenge faced by the Project is the implementation on the currently-available OPERA datasets of the nowcasting techniques that have been/are being developed, and to operate them continuously at Continental scale and at high resolution (for National Hydrometeorological Services and Civil Protection and emergency agencies).



1. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - ES

2. Finnish Meteorological Institute - FI

3. Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics - AT

4. Finnish Ministry of Interior, Department for Rescue Services - FI


1. Dirección General de Protección Civil y Emergencias de España - ES

2. Civil protection section, Provincial Government of Lower Austria - AT

3. European Commission - DG Joint Research Centre - BE