Global View

The overall objective of the Project is to develop a system for monitoring and forecasting precipitation at high temporal and spatial resolution to be used in the anticipation of hazards induced by precipitation at local scale and over Europe.

The Project intends to use the radar mosaics generated within the EUMETNET Program OPERA to extend the predictability of the precipitation field over Europe. This will be the first nowcasting product generated at Continental scale using the European radar mosaic (similar to those implemented on the U.S. radar mosaic –e.g. Germann et al. 2006-).

The nowcasting system to be developed should result in improved anticipation of the impacts of precipitation beyond the 2-3 hours achieved with National radar networks. Anticipation is crucial for Civil Protection, as it allows better preparedness to mitigate the losses. With such an aim, a high-resolution demonstration platform will be developed to anticipate the hazard associated with a given event.

The assessment of the uncertainty in both components of the system (rainfall nowcasting and hazard identification) is crucial in the tools to be developed. With such an aim, the probabilistic component will be added to rainfall nowcasts using state-of-the-art techniques (Berenguer et al. 2011; Koistinen et al. 2011) that will be extended to the OPERA domain.

Precipitation hazard identification will be adapted to the traffic light scheme following the well-established alert tool METEOALARM ( which is operated by the EUMETNET Consortium to disseminate weather alerts throughout Europe. The METEOALARM community will support the demonstration of the tool with its technical and professional expertise.

The duration of the project necessary to achieve the objectives described above is estimated in 18 months.

The main result of the Project will be the demonstration of an improved real-time system for high-resolution precipitation nowcasting (up to 6 hours) over Europe to alert Civil Protection agencies of hazards induced by precipitation in real time. The system will include an added product describing the uncertainty in rainfall forecasts to assess the reliability of the produced outputs.

A separate website will be established to demonstrate the real-time high-resolution precipitation forecasts over Europe.

Finally, the performance of the system will be demonstrated in 3 climatically-different regions: Austria, Finland and Spain, and the nowcasting products will be tested as alternative input in the European Flood Alert System (EFAS) run operationally by the EC Joint Research Center (JRC).

The activities to be carried out within the Project have been split into the following Tasks:

TASK A: Radar-based precipitation nowcasting at European scale: Adapting a nowcasting technique to the use of OPERA mosaics. Leader: UPC-CRAHI.

TASK B: Advanced precipitation nowcasting at European scale based on a multi-sensor approach.. Leader: FMI.

TASK C: Probabilistic precipitation nowcasting at European scale: Implementation of an ensemble approach. Leader: UPC-CRAHI.

TASK D: Development and demonstration of a prototype real-time system for precipitation nowcasting at European scale.Leader: FMI.

TASK E: Development and implementation of a hazard assessment system for the purposes of civil protection. Leader: ZAMG.

TASK F: Verification and demonstration of the developed system.Leader: ZAMG.

TASK G: Management and reporting to the Commission. Leader: UPC-CRAHI.

TASK H: Publicity. Leader: UPC-CRAHI.