Making Life-Saving Weather Information Available to the Most

by | Dec 2, 2015

December 2, 2015 ” As part of its long-standing working relationship with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), ECMWF is offering a reduced-fee licence to enable more national weather services, primarily those from developing and least developed countries, to benefit from its full range of web-based charts.

ECMWF's extensive set of graphical products help National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in the provision of effective operational weather forecasts and in particular in warning citizens of severe weather events. The new licence, which represents an affordable alternative to the full non-commercial licence already open to Members of the WMO, will allow more NMHSs to use these products.

ECMWF Director of Forecasts, Florence Rabier, said: ” Advance warnings are vital to allow authorities to take action to mitigate the effects of these events, and we are proud to be working with the WMO to ensure that their most vulnerable members have access to reliable and accurate weather information. This new licence gives access to all standard charts on the ECMWF website and to the ecCharts service, a suite of interactive web applications specifically designed to help forecasters in their daily work. As we observe a heightened frequency and intensity of extreme weather events as an effect of climate change, we hope that access to our web charts will allow forecasters to formulate weather predictions critical for citizens and emergency services alike.”

Since early 2000, ECMWF has been offering charts on the web, mainly targeted at forecasters in its Member States. As part of the development of the new website, ECMWF has completely redesigned the way web charts are produced and displayed. The development work was based on the framework previously created for ecCharts in order to harmonise ECMWF web services, simplify their maintenance and save resources.

The redesign focused on improving both the user experience and the release process, making the new licence all the more attractive. In particular, ecCharts now provides a web user interface to browse, customize and overlay ECMWF forecast products and a standard web service that enables the integration of graphical products in the forecaster's working environment.

ECMWF's graphical products do not require costly infrastructure or specialised IT staff, which makes them accessible to all. The only requirements are a standard Internet connection and a web browser.

WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jeremiah Lengoasa, said: “Many National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) are benefiting from the non-commercial licence service of ECMWF and the access to the full range of ECMWF products. However, there are still a large number of WMO members, especially those from developing and least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which have not been able to obtain the non-commercial licence services of ECMWF due to budgetary and technical constraints. We see this new licence as an opportunity to ensure that forecasters can have access to the tools and information they need to protect those most at risk “


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