Joint EC-JRC/WMO/UN-OCHA Technical Meeting: Tropical Cyclone Impact Estimation for Humanitarian Preparedness and Response - Joining the Dots

Organised under the umbrella of the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW) 2020 by: 

  • European Commission - Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC)
  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA)


Agenda and presentations:

Time Agenda Items
Thursday, 6 February 2020, Room 15
Session 1: Information Needs of Disaster Managers and Humanitarian Agencies for their Preparedness & Response Activities
Chairperson: Thomas Peter (OCHA)
09:00 – 09:15 Part 1 A: Welcome remarks and introduction
  • On behalf of OCHA: Thomas Peter
  • On behalf of WMO: Elena Manaenkova (DSG)
  • On behalf of EC-JRC: Alessandro Annunziato
09:15 – 10:30 Part 1 B: Keynote speeches & Presentations
  • Setting the scene (Thomas Peter, OCHA) - PDF
  • WMO support for provision of tropical cyclone information (Anne-Claire Fontan, WMO) - PDF
  • The European Commission’s role (Esther El Haddad, EC-DG ECHO/ERCC) - PDF
  • The role of tropical cyclone advisories and lessons learnt from engagement of the hydromet community with the disaster risk management and humanitarian actors (Sunitha Devi, RSMC New Delhi) - PDF
  • The response to hurricane Dorian – a story from the ground (Cecilia Utas, DFID) - PDF

11:00 – 12:30

Part 1 C: World Café – Interactive working groups on the following topics:
  1. Decision making before and during tropical cyclones
  2. Tropical cyclone information products
  3. Dealing with uncertainty
  4. Collaboration among key actors
Session 2: Tropical Cyclones Impact Estimation – Tropical Cyclone Products: Data, Models, Tools & Early Warning Systems
Chairperson: Alessandro Annunziato (EC-JRC)
14:00 – 14:10 Summary of the previous session
14:10 – 15:30 Part 2 A: Presentations
  • Tropical cyclone forecast products of the National Hurricane Centre (Daniel Brown, RSMC Miami) – remotely - PDF
  • From operational tropical cyclone forecasts (track and intensity prediction) to impact forecasts at regional and local level and to medium-range and monthly forecasts of tropical cyclone activity at basin level: Useful information for humanitarian preparedness and response (Emmanuel Cloppet, RSMC La Reunion) - PDF
  • Predictability of tropical cyclone flooding using the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) (Helen Titley, UK Met Office) - PDF
  • GDACS: Tropical cyclone impact estimation (Pamela Probst, EC-JRC) - PDF
  • Rapid Mapping of tropical cyclone impacts under the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) (Annett Wania, EC-JRC) - PDF
  • UNITAR's Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT)’s innovative products for tropical cyclone impact estimation (Luca Dell’Oro, UNOSAT) - PDF
    Sentinel-1 contribution to tropical cyclone observations at high resolution (Emina
    Mamaca & François Soulat
  • NASA’s Earth Science Disasters Program Tropical Cyclone Response (Lori Schultz,
    ) - PDF
16:00 – 17:20 Part 2 B: Interactive working groups – how can the hydromet community respond to the needs identified in Session 1?
17:20 – 17:30 Wrap up & outlook Day 2
Friday, 7 February 2020, Room 15
Session 3: Case Studies and Innovations
Chairperson: Cyrille Honoré (WMO)
09:00 – 09:15 Welcome & Introduction, Summary of Day 1
09:15 – 09:45 Part 3 A: 2019 Case Studies – Overview and “Story Telling”
  • Tropical cyclone IDAI in Mozambique (Mussa Mustafa, INAM - PDF & Rolf M. Bakken, UNDAC Norway/ACAPS - PDF)
  • Hurricane DORIAN in the Bahamas (Robert Harewood, CDEMA - PDF & Esther El Haddad, EC-DG ECHO/ERCC PDF), incl. a 10 min video on the impacts on the region, particularly the Bahamas, and the response through e.g. the Regional Response Mechanism and the EC 
09:45 – 10:30 Part 3 B: Breakout Groups – What would the disaster management and humanitarian community do differently were these cyclones to occur today?
  • Tropical cyclone IDAI in Mozambique
  • Hurricane DORIAN in the Bahamas
11:00 – 11:10 Case Studies – Wrap-up
11:10 – 12:10 Part 3 C: Possible solutions and innovations – Open discussion
12:10 – 12:30 Wrap-up, recommendations and next steps


2019 has again demonstrated the destructive power brought by tropical cyclones, with Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Fani in India, Dorian in the Bahamas and most recently Hagibis in Japan leaving a trail of death, destroyed livelihoods and untold suffering. On each occasion the humanitarian community worked alongside the national disaster management agencies to support those in need. At the same time, the meteorological community looked to provide actionable advice.

While the collaborative response efforts did make a genuine difference on the ground, colleagues in the meteorological, hydrological, marine community and their underpinning operational and research teams continue to ask themselves: Could we do more? Are we providing the most appropriate information? Is it easy to understand and act upon? Can we provide more ‘lead time’ in advance? How could we incorporate possible impacts? Are we looking at other hazards triggered by tropical cyclones and compounding risks?

The WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) conducting tropical cyclone forecasting are accorded with roles and responsibilities in providing authoritative guidance to the associated national centres in their respective regions. And the National Meteorological Centres (NMCs) associated with tropical cyclone forecasting and warnings shall issue forecasts and warnings of tropical cyclones to threatened communities, and coordinate with national agencies responsible for disaster risk reduction and management.

In addition, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), a cooperation framework between the United Nations and the European Commission, provides an array of useful products for tropical cyclone impact estimation. 

However, collectively, are we missing something?

Expected Outcomes:

This Workshop aims at bringing together operational meteorologists and hydrologists, scientific experts, and practitioners from disaster management, hydrometeorological and humanitarian agencies to discuss our collective challenges and innovative solutions, during what we expect to be energetic discussions. We look to deliver the following outcomes:

  1. Identify the needs from the responder community (national to local disaster managers, international humanitarian agencies, NGOs, etc.) for early warning advice on tropical cyclone-related hazards (building on previous consultations);
  2. Review the existing and potential (hydro)meteorological capabilities as well as institutional arrangements in order to see whether and how they serve these needs (also beyond tropical cyclones); and
  3. Assess where – through innovation, communication improvements or new product development – we can all create more holistic and user-centred early warning and advisory services.