New ACCORD Consortium - Met Éireann expands its international collaboration in knowledge-leading weather prediction science

Met Éireann is now a member of ACCORD1 the largest research consortium globally focused on the research and development of world-leading weather prediction for local and regional weather conditions in Europe.

Today marks a new page in the history of meteorology as National Meteorological Services from 26 European countries, including Ireland, begin to broaden and deepen their research collaboration on developing advanced high-resolution weather prediction capability for their local areas. The largest international weather prediction research consortium world-wide, ACCORD will focus on developing world-leading weather forecasting systems to provide the best possible support to society, based on knowledge leading research and pioneering supercomputing technology.

Eoin Moran, Director of Met Éireann, said that “ACCORD is a step change in localising weather prediction for Europe and Ireland – linking knowledge-leading science to deliver even better, more localised,weather forecasts to the Irish public”.

ACCORD builds on Europe’s impressive tradition of cooperation in meteorology. EUMETSAT2 provides Europe with advanced weather satellite capability; EUMETNET3 coordinates weather and climate observations across Europe; while ECMWF4 is the undisputed leader in global weather prediction. ACCORD will collaborate closely with each of these international organisations to provide the very best weather prediction capability for Ireland and Europe.

Advanced high resolution short-range5 weather prediction models are developed through the research efforts of National Meteorological Services such as Met Éireann. Since the 1980s, owing to the complex and specialised scientific endeavor involved, National Meteorological Services have by necessity collaborated within several international consortia, with Met Éireann becoming a member of HIRLAM (High-Resolution Limited Area Model) in 1989.

ACCORD is in fact a merger of the 3 existing consortia, ALADIN, HIRLAM and LACE6, resulting in a unique collaboration of twenty-six countries of Europe and Northern Africa. Research scientists working at Met Éireann will contribute knowledge and expertise in areas including mathematical modelling, data assimilation, observation pre-processing, model numerics and physics, machine learning, nowcasting and ensemble prediction.

Dr. Saji Varghese, Head of Research in Met Éireann and chair of the consortium’s Science committee commented that “we will advance and strengthen research in the complex science of weather prediction, develop new algorithms to take advantage of the opportunities from parallel computer architectures and tackle the challenge of massive data flows. We will enhance and evolve the development of our numerical weather prediction7 model code, and extend cooperation on new components of the modelling system”.

While the consortium will collaborate on science and development, the production and delivery of operational weather forecasts will continue to be provided on a national basis. The operational numerical weather prediction systems will receive regular upgrades to include the scientific and technical innovations developed within the 26-member consortium.

With our joint effort, we will accelerate the improvement of weather forecasts which will have a knock-on effect on the many sectors of society that rely on accurate weather information.


1ACCORD: A Consortium for COnvection-scale modelling Research and Development

2EUMETSAT: The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States including Ireland. It is a global operational satellite agency whose purpose is to gather accurate and reliable satellite data on weather, climate and the environment around the clock, and to deliver them to its Member States, international partners, and to users world-wide.

3EUMETNET: It is a grouping of 31 European National Meteorological Services including Ireland that provides a framework to organise co-operative programmes between its Members in the various fields of basic meteorological activities. These activities include observing systems, data processing, basic forecasting products, research and development and training.

4ECMWF: The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 states including Ireland. ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. This data is fully available to the national meteorological services in the Member States.

5short-range: up to about 3 days ahead

6ALADIN (Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey), LACE (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) and HIRLAM (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden).

7Numerical weather prediction: uses mathematical models of the atmosphere and oceans to predict the weather based on current weather conditions. These models are converted in computer codes for simulations.