Projects are at the core of WEMC work, and we lead on stakeholder engagement, communications and exploitation of results for the EU H2020 SECLI-FIRM Project, now in its final year.

SECLI-FIRM aims to demonstrate how the use of improved climate forecasts, out to several months ahead, can add practical and economic value to decision-making processes and outcomes in both the energy and water sectors, and we have been working closely with the SECLI-FIRM project team proactively creating opportunities to share results and learnings across sectors and geographies outside of the project.

A productive method, enabling new audiences to discover the SECLI-FIRM project and the potential value to their sector, is by organising and co-hosting webinars with initiatives and individuals that have synergies with SECLI-FIRM. The team at WEMC are skilled at bringing together organisations and people from across the energy, weather, climate and environmental disciplines and encouraging knowledge sharing and interactions.

In this instance, WEMC were able to expand the geographical reach of the SECLI-FIRM project to a new continent, attracting presenters from the USA, with a dive into the methods and tools of the World Climate Service from, Pennsylvania based Jan Dutton, and an exploration, by Carlos F. Gaitan from San Francisco based Benchmark Labs, on the role of machine learning and cloud computing with a U.S. slant.

The free SECLI-FIRM webinar series also enabled further sharing of the project case studies. This, fourth webinar, featured the ninth case study, involving industrial partner Thames Water and research partner the Met Office.

The one-hour webinar was held in February 2021 and overcame the time zone challenge attracting participants from as far as Canada and Chile as well as the UK and Europe.

Lesley Penny, SECLI-FIRM Project Manager (UEA) chaired the webinar, introduced the SECLI-FIRM Project and welcomed the three expert presenters.

It was a diverse agenda starting with a presentation ‘Promoting the integration of seasonal climate forecasts in the water sector to help mitigate stress events in the supply – demand balance’ from Katie Chowienczyk, Senior Scientific Consultant at the Met Office, UK

Katie talked through the approach taken on the SECLI-FIRM water sector case study, from the initial user engagement with Thames Water, including workshops and the use of decision trees, to the tailoring of the science for application, on to the co-development and co-delivery of the trial forecast services, concluding with the review and improvement work on the forecasting service.

Katie’s presentation was followed by two USA expert contributors who have previously collaborated with WEMC.

First was Carlos F. Gaitan, Chief Technology Officer from Benchmark Labs, provider of  IoT forecasting solutions by delivering asset-specific forecasts for the agricultural sector and beyond to optimise management strategies, reduce water consumption and improve operational margins. Carlos’ presentation addressed Complementing the U.S. Public Sector’s Climate Services: The role of Machine Learning and Cloud Computing.

Concluding with Jan Dutton, CEO, Prescient Weather who introduced the World Climate Service, which provides a single source of objective S2S forecast and analysis information to enable forecasting with a probabilistic and risk assessment focus for commodity trading desks focused on power, gas, and agriculture markets. His presentation addressed S2S Forecasts for Energy Markets.

What’s next for SECLI-FIRM and WEMC?

The stakeholder engagement team at WEMC are leading the organisation of the final Stakeholder Workshop for the SECLI-FIRM project in late spring. They have also contributed to the communication and exploitation aspects of two recent Green Deal proposals and are looking forward to contributing to the delivery of the second workshop for the EU H2020 FOCUS-Africa project in the autumn, venturing into another continent…

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