ESSL updates April 2020

ESSL Director’s Address Regarding ESSL activities and the Corona virus outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak impacts organizations and businesses across the world, and ESSL is no exception. I would like to give an update of how ESSL is adapting to the situation. Overall, the adaptation is going quite well, even though on-site activities in Wiener Neustadt have to be avoided and ESSL’s new, larger, seminar room at our Austrian premises will not be used yet.

Adapting to the new situation, we have postponed a course on Forecasting Convective Storms for Aviation until the autumn. Two courses at locations in Spain and Cyprus have been postponed until Spring 2021. Other activities have been changed to online activities.

The first course for which this was done was the Convective Storm Dynamics course, that was remotely given by Prof. Jeff Trapp, whom we thank for getting up at unpleasant times from his home in Illinois. More courses in the near future will be given as an online course. The most challenging aspect of this is to retain the interactive part, but our first experiences have been positive.

Financial situation

ESSL’s financial situation is not in danger, because of the start of two new research projects that has been announced, and because ESSL is expected to benefit from a special coronavirus fund offered by the Austrian government in order to mitigate the economic consequences of the outbreak.

The ESSL Testbed will continue, but also in online form. Our Testbed programme has a focus on forecast discussion as well as training and product evaluation. There will be two weeks in which the regular Testbed programme will be held, and two additional weeks with an adapted programme for more experienced forecasters (by invitation). Registration is still open, more information can be found here.

Tornado and Windstorm Damage Assessment Workshop is postponed until 2021. Information  on upcoming activities can be found on our website:
For more information, contact

Start of new research projects: CHECC and PreCAST

ESSL has started work in a new 3-year research project CHECC, which is funded by the German Ministry of Research and Education and part of the national ClimXtreme programme, focused on the analysis of extreme climatological events. Within this project, ESSL will improve statistical dynamical models to detect extreme convective events from reanalysis and climate model data, and develop new methods based on convection-permitting model simulation. These methods can be applied for attribution studies.

Besides this project, ESSL has also received a long-awaited positive response from the Austrian Science Fund FWF about the funding of the 4-year project PreCAST to be carried out jointly with partner ZAMG, and with support from ECMWF. In this project, lead by ESSL’s Tomáš Púčik, a probabilistic system for the prediction of convective events in the short to medium-range will be developed. The project will start in September 2020.

Free refresher webinars for forecasters in May and June

ESSL has decided to try something new and will organize a short series of free of charge 1-day refresher webinars. Each of them will concentrate on a different topic related to forecasting convective storms, and consist of two two-hour sessions.


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