2018 HEPEX Workshop in Melbourne Australia :
Breaking the barriers
Since its inception in 2004, Deltares has actively contributed to the HEPEX hydrometeorological community of practice. The HEPEX community currently includes several hundred scientists and practitioners working in meteorological institutions, hydrological forecasting agencies, universities and the private sector. The HEPEX community meets and communicates through various means including a blog based web portal, various social media channels as well as occasional HEPEX meetings. One of these meetings recently took place in Melbourne Australia.
More than 120 participants from 15 countries gathered ath the University of Melbourne for the HEPEX workshop.
The objective was not only to enjoy the splendid weather of the Australian summer in this bustling metropolis, but mainly to engage in debate on the scientific advance and practical use of hydrological ensemble forecasting. The event was the 7th bi- annual HEPEX workshop, which was held at the University of Melbourne, hosted jointly by the Bureau of Meteorology and the University. The Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Experiment (HEPEX) is an initiative that was launched in 2004 with the objective to further the development of reliable and skilful hydrologic ensemble forecasting procedures. Visit the website on www.hepex.org, where you can find discussions and debates on the do's and don'ts of ensemble forecasting, blog posts, events and great (serious) games and educational materials on how to understand the benefits of hydrological ensemble forecasting, uncertainty and decision making.
Fourteen years on, the theme of the workshop, breaking the barriers, is very much a topical one. Ensemble forecasting technology has progressed significantly, and while the workshop hosted several presentations on those technologies and the statistical intricacies of ensemble forecasting, one of the main conclusions was that the community also now needs to move beyond the technical implementation, and break down the barriers to a broader practical use of ensemble forecasting, and the impact it can have in supporting effective decisions.
Deltares has been closely involved in the development of hydrological ensemble forecasting, and has a unique position in linking the scientific developments in for example the HEPEX community, and the real world of operational forecasting centres. Delft FEWS was in fact designed as an ensemble capable system right from the word go. It actually treats the single deterministic forecast as an ensemble of 1!
During the workshop there was also a visit to the offices of the Bureau of Meteorology, to understand how daily forecasts are made and interpreted operationally. The Bureau is one of the leading users of Delft FEWS, which forms the heart of the HyFS system that helps them provide state-of-the-art hydrological forecast service across Australia. The Bureau itself is also about to break barriers, as they are currently committed to the process of transitioning to an operational probabilistic ensemble forecasting service, built on the ensemble capabilities of Delft FEWS. The visit was also a great opportunity for some of the scientists in the HEPEX community to get a taste of a professional operational forecasting environment, and see how technology and science can support the decisions real forecasters make.
On the final day a visit was made to the water supply infrastructure of Melbourne Water. They are prime customers of the forecasts from the Bureau, which they use to inform the operation of their reservoirs and water storages. That water supply is clearly very important to the city in this dry part of the world. And of course that water is important to the HEPEX workshop participants when enjoying some great local beers to quench their thirst after every day of good debate.
Deltares was represented at the meeting by Albrecht Weerts (also full professor in Hydrologic Predictability at Wageningen University and Research)and Micha Werner (also associate professor in Flood Risk Management and River Basin Development at IHE Delft). Micha presented on global hydrological forecasting systems (one of which is the system operational at Deltares); Albrecht shared some insights that developed within the IMPREX project. Can you spot them in the group picture above?
For Deltares, HEPEX constitutes one of many links with academic and operational institutions around the globe. Through Deltares, HEPEX can benefit from our wide expertise and experience in develivering hydrological forecasting systems throughout the globe.
Information about HEPEX can be found on the HEPEX web portal: www.hepex.org.
For additional questions or remarks, you may contact Albrecht Weerts, firstname.lastname@example.org or Micha Werner, email@example.com.