The Hong Kong Observatory organized an international workshop on "Rainfall Nowcasting" under the Voluntary Cooperation Programme (VCP) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) during 7 – 11 December 2015.
"Rainfall Nowcasting" generally refers to forecasts of rainfall and the associated severe weather such as thunderstorm, hail and wind gusts, for up to 6 hours ahead. It is the pillar for rainstorm warning system and public rainfall nowcast service, both critical to disaster prevention and reduction. The Observatory also took this opportunity to launch the community version of the SWIRLS nowcasting system ("Com-SWIRLS") for use by interested meteorological services around the world.
Experts in rainfall nowcasting were invited as lecturers of the workshop. Dr Jenny Juanzhen Sun of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) presented the latest development of rainfall nowcasting based on radar and convection-permitting numerical weather prediction model. Mr Hidehiko Murata of Japan Meteorological Agency introduced the newly available Himawari-8 satellite products and their applications in nowcasting. In addition, Mr Wong Wai-kin, Mr Woo Wang-chun and Mr Cheng Tsz-lo of the Observatory introduced the principles and practical implementation of quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) and quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) in Com-SWIRLS.
The workshop was attended by 22 trainees from 18 countries, including Argentina, China, Comoros, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, South Africa, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Zambia. A webinar was also set up for the first time at the VCP workshop to enable remote participation in the lectures by the forecast experts in Beijing, China.
The participants highly appreciated the workshop in general and many of them planned to install Com-SWIRLS in their meteorological services. Mrs Fauziana Ahmad from Malaysia said she was most impressed with the learning of QPE, QPF and satellite nowcast. She was also inspired by the way to disseminate information of rainfall nowcast to the public. Dr Luciano Vidal from Argentina said he had benefited a lot from the workshop and would actively consider adopting Com-SWIRLS to make more effective use of the radar network under development.