Extreme hydrometeorological events are affecting societies, economies, and the environment. Governments, science agencies, the humanitarian sector, emergency managers, and decision-makers face continuing challenges to reduce the risks to citizens and society.
To address these challenges, the Societal and Economic Research Applications (SERA)1 Working Group of the WMO World Weather Research Programme (WWRP),2 in close collaboration with the German Weather Service (DWD), the Free University Berlin, and the Hans-Ertel-Centre for Weather Research (HErZ), held the first Weather and Society Conference (https://www.weatherandsociety.de) from 28 February to 11 March 2022. The online event focused on the science for services approach adopted by the WMO to understand, analyze, and enhance the value of weather and climate services in society.
The conference built on the former series of “Weather and Society Integrated Studies” workshops initiated in the United States which aimed to integrate social science into meteorological research and practice (Gruntfest 2017).
The objectives of the conference were to
discuss and promote all aspects of social and economic research applications along the weather forecast value chain;
bring people together from the operational meteorological and hydrological services, research, and forecast user communities; and
identify gaps, needs, and challenges to reducing the risks to citizens and society.
The conference covered various topics in nine different sessions, ranging from impact-based forecasting and warning of extreme weather events to the use of weather information for civil protection and humanitarian aid to the application of indigenous and local weather knowledge. Over 700 participants registered from 104 countries, while authors from over 40 countries took part in the talks, discussions, and poster sessions throughout the two weeks.
The COVID pandemic has challenged in-person participation in conferences over the last three years. The decision of an online conference allowed the engagement of a broader community and enabled the contribution and participation from across the globe.
The WWRP Working Group on Societal and Economic Research Applications (SERA) aims to advance the science of the social and economic application of weather-related information and services through reviewing and assisting in the development and promotion of societal and economic-related demonstration projects. SERA has the responsibility for the entire range of time scales and research issues associated with the WWRP. The working group brings the knowledge of how to frame, design, and implement research projects co-designed between physical and social scientists and a range of appropriate actors to achieve more useful information for decision-makers and the public.
The WMO World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) is advancing and promoting research activities on weather, its prediction, and its impact on society. The improvements in science and operational predictions are driven by international cooperation, and in turn, international cooperation in weather science is a unique opportunity to drive sustainable development. As the science is advancing, critical questions are arising such as the potential sources of predictability on weekly, monthly, and longer time scales; seamless prediction from minutes to months; optimal use of local and global observing systems; and the effective utilization of supercomputers. In addition, communication of forecasts, warnings, and their uncertainty, as well as some indication of the impacts of these warnings, raise new challenges for weather-related approaches for the full value chain.
This conference was supported by the WMO World Weather Research Programme. Additional support was given by the Hans-Ertel-Centre for Weather Research. This research network of universities, research institutes and the German Weather Service (DWD) is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. We thank all conference participants for their valuable and constructive contributions.