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Interpreting and applying numerical weather prediction in Pakistan

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Participants and resource persons at the training on numerical weather prediction: interpretation and application for Pakistan (Photo: ICIMOD)

The Met Office – the UK’s national meteorological service – and ICIMOD, in collaboration with the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), organized a three-day training on numerical weather prediction (NWP) and its applications at the PMD’s campus in Islamabad, Pakistan, in March 2020.

The training aimed to strengthen the capacity of PMD meteorologists in the interpretation and application of NWP and is part of a joint capacity building plan agreed upon among the three organizers under the Asia Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARRCC) programme, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).

Thirty-five meteorologists (including two women) based in the PMD headquarters in Islamabad and the provincial offices attended the training to familiarize themselves with various NWP tools and techniques to ensure better provision of services for its use and uptake in Pakistan. The training adopted a train-the-trainer approach with a focus on hands-on exercises so that the participants can pass on the skills and knowledge gained to other colleagues across the PMD and encourage wider exploration of the potential for using NWP in the way investigated for improved weather forecasting and warning within Pakistan.

Resources persons from the Met Office – UK, ICIMOD, and PMD led different sessions on deterministic and probabilistic ensemble NWP outputs, nowcasting techniques for short-term forecasting, verifying NWP outputs, and understanding and communicating uncertainties in NWP forecasts and its applications to stakeholders.

By increasing understanding of the role of NWP within the forecast processes, training participants will be able to add greater value to forecast products and communication to stakeholders, thereby increasing the accuracy of forecasts and ultimately helping inform the actions users may take, shifting towards an impact based focus.

Under the ARRCC programme, ICIMOD and the Met Office – UK have been collaborating with national meteorological and hydrological services in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region on a joint capacity building plan. Under this plan, the two organizations have been developing and delivering content on climate projections and impact-based forecasting for greater impact in the region.

About ARRCC

The ARRCC programme (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/services/government/international-development/arrcc), which commenced in September 2018, is a four-year programme aiming to strengthen the provision and uptake of weather and climate services across South Asia. While regional in nature, ARRCC will also have a focus on the most vulnerable countries in the region, primarily Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

The programme will focus across all meteorological timescales (weather, seasonal, and climate), aiming to build climate and environmental resilience by improving the application and access to weather and climate services at regional to national levels. In addition, the programme will support the development of new technologies and innovative approaches to using weather warnings and forecasts. This will help vulnerable communities better prepare for climate-related shocks.

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