Developing training resources for probabilistic forecasting

Developing training resources for probabilistic forecasting

Many weather services around the globe have expressed interest in training on Communication of forecast uncertainty and on theory and use of EPS products. This signal was captured among others by Eumetcal, who facilitated and supported the work of a dedicated team of experts from around Europe called EPS Expert Team.

The team focused on the development of learning opportunities on topics like communication of forecast uncertainty and use and interpretations of EPS products,  with the objective of contributing to improved skills of operational forecasters. The team is composed of experts and trainers from ECMWF, European national weather services (DWDAEMETSMHI), and also Manchester University.

Since MSC of Canada had already developed a learning module with UCAR/COMET on communicating forecast uncertainty and was planning new ones, it became natural to join the efforts and work all together: in this way each partner could bring on the table its own expertise and reach out to a much larger audience. MSC was part of the EPS Expert Team from the very beginning.

The first concrete result of this “trans-continental” cooperation was reached at the end of March 2017 with the publication of two online learning modules by COMET, hosted in the MetEd platform.

  • The first module Communicating forecast uncertainty – European case (click here to access the module) is based on a corresponding module from North America, but focuses on an European case. ECMWF experts contributed to this module by providing the European case.
  • The second module EPS Products Reference Guide  (click here to access the module) provides information about nine commonly used ensemble prediction system (EPS) products. In addition to MSC, the experts of the EPS Expert Team contributed to the content development of this module.
  • A third module Introduction to EPS Theory (click here to get to the module) belongs to the same topic, but was developed solely by COMET and MSC, thus not part of the international cooperation.


Additional experts from European NHMSs (UK Met Office, Met Éireann, Latvian Met Service) have supported the effort by reviewing the version of the modules prior their publication. MSC, besides the significant scientific contribution, has funded the modules developed by UCAR/COMET; Eumetcal has sponsored the on-site meeting of the EPS Expert Team and supported the expert team during the development of the learning resources. Contributing European NHMSs have provided in-kind contribution as working time of their experts.

Another final module about on the use of EPS products for meteorological case studies is in progress, as part of this international cooperation, and will be completed in the Spring of 2018.

The development of the above mentioned learning opportunities represents the successful cooperation of different actors and partners, each contributing with their own means and know-how to achieve a common goal. This has been a successful model to be used for future initiatives!