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Verification of Operational Seasonal Forecasts in the Mediterranean region

Workshop description

The purpose of this 4 days training workshop is to build capacities on verification of climate seasonal forecasts in the Mediterranean region.


Since late 90’s seasonal forecasts experienced a growing role, despite the large uncertainties still present especially in mid-latitudes. Recent advances in seasonal to interannual hydro-climatic predictions provide an opportunity for developing a proactive approach towards water management. Precipitation and temperature anomalies knowledge, available a few months in advance, could be useful for technical services and organizations on managing water resources in agriculture and other strategic sectors. At the same time, methods and scientific results are still underexploited and not easily accessible and comprehensible for potential users.


According with the Global Framework for Climate Services, the training workshop addresses the development of tools and methodologies for delivery of climate services meeting end user’s needs. Additionally, the workshop intends to bridge the gap between climate science and societal user of climate information. The workshop aims at enhancing the collaboration and joint contribution of WMO Regional Associations I and VI in developing capacities for the Climate Services Information System within the GFCS.


This training workshop follows the training MedCOF event organized in October 2015 in Madrid, which mainly served as introduction to various themes related to MedCOF activities. It also follows the series of specialized training courses on sectoral applications of seasonal forecasts yearly organized by IBIMET-CNR with WMO support.


The training workshop is this time organized as a pre-MedCOF (Mediterranean Climate Outlook Forum) event. MedCOF serves as an umbrella of the other sub-regional COFs operating in the Mediterranean area (PRESANORD and SEECOF), mainly focusing on promoting training and operational activities on seasonal timescales. MedCOF also integrates Western European and Middle Eastern Mediterranean countries. The training workshop, therefore, contributes also to the strengthening of the MedCOF, PRESANORD and SEECOF activities aiming at the operational use of seasonal forecasts.


The training workshop is jointly organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Institute of Biometeorology of the National Research Council of Italy (IBIMET-CNR) in collaboration with the EuroMediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) and the Italian Meteorological Service.


Expected Learning Outcomes

According to the Climate Services Competency Framework approved by the WMO Executive Council of June 2016, the training course addresses the Competency 3 : Create and/or interpret climate forecasts, climate projections and model output, and more specifically the following Performance Criteria:

  • Evaluate the performance of climate models output and quantify the associated uncertainties;
  • Create value-added products, such as graphics, maps and reports to communicate climate forecasts and climate model information.


Through the course, participants will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge on current approaches on verification strategies of seasonal forecast products in the Mediterranean Region, with particular emphasis on:

  • Verification of tercile forecasts, and introduction to terciles and probabilities.
  • Overlap with WMO SVSLRF and mention of CCl Guidance
  • Attributes of good probabilistic forecasts. Scoring probabilistic forecasts. Reliability and resolution.
  • Software tools for verification
  • Operational verification of models and consensus forecasts.


Target Audience

The workshop is addressed to the experts from National Hydro-Meteorological Services participating in the MedCOF, PRESANORD and SEECOF.



Workshop content

The 2016 workshop will be organized in two modules:


  1. General aspects of Seasonal Forecasts verification: this module aims to ensure that all the participants have the same basic knowledge and comprehension of Seasonal Forecasts verification. Part of this module will be realized online through the Moodle distance learning platform one month before the face to face module. General aspects covered by this module will be:


  • Principles of probabilistic forecasts
  • Attributes of good probabilistic forecasts
  • Understanding and usage of metrics for verification of seasonal predictions in the Mediterranean area;
  • Available on-line repository and portal of seasonal forecasts and real-time monitoring atmospheric dataset.
  • Data analysis and manipulation with open source R tool;



  1. Verification of Operational Seasonal Forecasts in the Mediterranean region: this module will address practical needs and solutions for applying seasonal forecast verification models in the Mediterranean area. This module will last 4 days of classroom learning in Rome from 15 to 18 November. Aspects covered by this module will be:


    • Current approaches for verification seasonal forecasts at regional/national level
    • Operational application of models and consensus verification of seasonal forecasts in the Mediterranean area
    • Hands-on sessions using R tools on
  1. i.     unconditional biases and hits
  2. ii.     scoring probabilistic forecasts
  3. iii.     reliability and resolution
  4. iv.     ROC diagrams


Workshop format

Pre-course online sessions from 26 October to 11th November followed by 4 days of front learning (15-18 November 2016) in Rome (Italy), including lectures, group discussions, case studies and practical training sessions.