Going commercial in hydrological forecasting
Contributed by Maria-Helena Ramos
- In meteorology, national weather services have made efforts to create closer ties between forecasters and users, and discuss how it can effectively enhance the market for weather services (see some examples of publications here and here).
- A “European research and innovation Roadmap for Climate Services” has been published early this year: “Climate services have the potential of becoming a supportive and flourishing market, where public and private operators provide a range of services and products that can better inform decision makers at all levels, from public administrations to business operators, when taking decisions for which the implications of a changing climate are an issue”.
My questions as a hydrologist are:
- in the water sector, how equally supportive are we towards the development of national water services and the growth of associated businesses?
- How well developed are today’s water services (from public services and private enterprises)?
- How do they integrate outputs of hydrological forecasting systems in commercial applications?
The perfect time to go commercial
At least three aspects may be essential to find the perfect time to go commercial:
- Basic models and tools are already developed (and paid for), and eventually require, if any, just further minor investments.
- The forecasting process has reached a certain level of automation and the role of the forecasters is well defined in the new ‘automated context’ (here, see also the discussions in recent posts by J. Verkade and by J. Danhelka).
- The customers are well identified and ready to pay for the services.
My questions, again, are:
- How do we answer to these three aspects in the ‘hydrological forecasting business’?
- Are there any other impediments or catalysts?
- Are we ready to go commercial in hydrological forecasting?
Maybe it is time to think of challenges and opportunities we face now to enhance innovation and market update in hydrological forecasting: how do we handle (or how do we accept, if we do accept) commercial forecasting in hydrology?