Water- and weather-related disasters result in the loss of life and billions of dollars annually, a problem that demands an all-hands-on-deck approach from the broad hydrological and
meteorological scientific community in partnership with water and disaster management communities. Collaboration across disciplines is essential in order to develop impactful solutions that
support national and local authorities in providing adequate early warning to communities and helping their resilience and recovery in the face of disaster events. In all cases, national and local
decision makers are charged with the responsibility of committing resources before, during, and after, and must rely on actionable information to make the best possible decisions.
SERVIR seeks to disseminate such information through its different hubs. It connects space to village by helping developing countries use satellite data to address challenges in food security,
water resources, weather and climate, land use, and natural disasters. A partnership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), and leading technical organizations, SERVIR develops innovative solutions to improve livelihoods and foster self-reliance in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The International
Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) implements the SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) Initiative – one of five regional hubs of the SERVIR network – in its regional member
countries, prioritizing activities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Work carried out by SERVIR with the Applied Science Teams has demonstrated that current flood forecasts can be enhanced by integrating global satellite and modelled data with regional and local
forecasts. This supports the work of hydromet agencies and their goal of providing access to timely and relevant information for decision makers. It has produced ongoing medium-range forecasts for
every river stretch and accompanying retrospective hindcasts – historical simulations that put the forecasts in context and provide surrogate observational datasets to support and strengthen
existing national systems.
Moreover, since global models generally do not capture local meteorological phenomena, regional modelling systems are critical to provide valuable information for early warning on floods and
high-impact weather events. In an effort to support national systems, SERVIR has developed a High Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit (HIWAT). This weather forecasting tool is intended to provide
additional lead time for forecasting authorities so that local decision makers can prepare for and reduce the impact of high-impact weather events – lightning strikes, damaging winds, hail, and
flash floods. HIWAT relies on a mesoscale numerical weather prediction model that is partially informed by NASA satellite observations to provide a probabilistic forecast for extreme weather
hazards. Also, HIWAT’s forecasted precipitation is routed to predict flooding extents. These regional services are intended to strengthen and support national and local efforts and expertise in
developing hydro-meteorological information that allows for investments to enhance decision-making practices.
ICIMOD also hosts the Himalayan GEOSS community activity – a Task Group under Asia Oceania GEO (AOGEO) – focusing on the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) countries to address the gaps in Earth
observation and geospatial technologies in the region. It promotes access to and sharing of data, standards and methodologies, fosters regional cooperation to build complementary efforts to
address common issues, and works towards building capacities of individuals and institutions.
In this context, a regional knowledge forum on early warning for floods and high-impact weather events is being organized in Kathmandu by SERVIR-HKH jointly with Himalayan GEOSS and GEO Global
Water Sustainability (GEOGLOWS). The forum will promote exchange of knowledge and experiences from SERVIR’s work on early warning systems (EWSs) with wider hydromet and disaster management
communities. It will also provide a platform for the sharing of learnings from other similar initiatives in the HKH region.
The knowledge forum will bring together users and producers of information services in South and South East Asia, including professionals and researchers representing regional, national, and local
institutions engaged in providing extreme weather forecasts and flood forecasts and establishing related EWSs.
Rapporteur: Karma Tsering, ICIMOD
Forum background and objectives – Ghulam Rasul, ICIMOD
Welcome remarks – Basanta Raj Shrestha, ICIMOD
Opening remarks – Adriana Hayes, Acting Mission Director, USAID/Nepal
Remarks – Abdoulaye Harou, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Remarks – Walter Lee Ellenburg, NASA SERVIR Science Coordination Office (SCO)
Vote of thanks – Birendra Bajracharya, ICIMOD
Moderator: Arun Bhakta Shrestha, ICIMOD
Rapporteurs: Achut Pandey and Finu Shrestha, ICIMOD
GEOGLOWS: Revolutionizing the delivery of water information
– Jim Nelson, Brigham Young University
Presentations on regional flood forecasting systems
– Michael Ernst, USAID/OFDA
Moderator: Jim Nelson, Brigham Young University
Rapporteurs: Sajana Maharjan and Utsav Maden, ICIMOD
Presentations by country representatives on national forecasting systems
Moderator: Cedric David, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Rapporteurs: Finu Shrestha and Sravan Shrestha, ICIMOD
Presentations on sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) prediction in the HKH region
Moderator: Ghulam Rasul, ICIMOD
Rapporteurs: Timothy Mayer, NASA SERVIR SCO, and Achut Pandey, ICIMOD
WMO Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project and its challenges and achievements of relevance to the regional-scale weather forecasting efforts
– Adboulaye Harou, WMO
Presentation on regional systems on extreme weather forecasting
Moderator: Amanda Markert, NASA SERVIR SCO
Rapporteurs: Ganesh Bhattarai and Tenzing C Sherpa, ICIMOD
Moderator: Walter Lee Ellenburg, NASA SERVIR SCO, and Mir Matin, ICIMOD
Rapporteurs: Santosh Pathak, ICIMOD, and Timothy Mayer, NASA SERVIR SCO
The breakout session will focus on challenges brought up during the conference. Participants will discuss approaches for addressing these challenges. Potential topics include:
SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH)/International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in partnership with Himalayan GEOSS and GEOGLOWS
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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