Making connections through HEPEX – A CSIRO experience

By QJ Wang, Andrew Schepen, David Robertson, James Bennett, Durga Lal Shrestha, Yong Song and Tony Zhao members of the CSIRO Columnist Team

HEPEX has a reputation as a strong community of like-minded, supportive researchers and practitioners who are collectively bent on significantly advancing the science and applications of ensemble hydrological forecasting. HEPEX provides a unique forum where meeting people and exchanging ideas has the very real potential to open up new, exciting collaborative research opportunities. Indeed, this has been the experience of the CSIRO water forecasting team. A number of joint research activities have been kick-started in the wake of HEPEX workshops.


Participants in the last HEPEX workshop in Quebec, Canada, in June 2016

Following the Beijing workshop in 2012, Florian Pappenberger from ECMWF and our team saw an opportunity to work together in applying our CBaM rainfall post-processing method to seasonal forecasts from ECMWF’s System4 global model. A PhD student visiting CSIRO subsequently evaluated CBaM and System4 for seasonal climate forecasting across the whole of China. This led to a publication in JGR: Atmospheres.

A relationship with the NCEP Climate Prediction Center (CPC) was seeded during the HEPEX workshop in Maryland in 2014. The well-connected HEPEXers Andy Wood, Qingyun Duan and D-J Seo kindly introduced QJ Wang to colleagues in the CPC. This led to a number of side meetings at the time and many follow-up communications in the subsequent two years. Now CPC has a two-year funded collaborative project with our team to apply CBaM to CFSv2 and NMME data for US seasonal climate forecasting.


QJ Wang (CSIRO) presenting at the HEPEX Workshop on seasonal hydrological forecasting in Norrköping in September 2015

The SMHI Norrkoping workshop was similarly fruitful. We are currently working with Michael Butts and his team at DHI on an initial evaluation of methods for seasonal hydrological forecasting in Europe. From presentations during the same workshop, it was clear that the method of quantile-mapping (QM) had become very popular for post-processing ensemble seasonal climate forecasts. Following discussions with Andy Wood and Maria-Helena Ramos at the workshop, we decided to conduct an evaluation of QM to highlight its strength and weakness. This has now resulted in a joint research paper, which is currently in review for possible journal publication.


Andrew Schepen (CSIRO) presenting the HEPEX seasonal streamflow intercomparison project at the HEPEX Workshop in Quebec in June 2016

Of course, there is also the HEPEX seasonal ensemble hydrological forecasting test-bed initiative, in which we are actively participating.

Regionally our team is also reaching out to connect to forecasting researchers and practitioners in Asia through HEPEX special sessions at conferences like AOGS and MODSIM.

These are examples of connections that we, the CSIRO water forecasting team, made through the HEPEX forum.

HEPEX is sometimes said to have a friendly, big-family atmosphere and there is no doubt that others have been making many connections too. We certainly encourage all to capitalise on opportunities to make new connections and advance our science.

Who have you met and what are you working on? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.


  1. Some posts are valuable for their specific technical or scientific perspective, but I like this one because it is a reminder that there is tremendous value in the interactions of people with different backgrounds, challenges and objectives in the area of forecasting. Having been involved in one way or another with HEPEX since 2004, I have to chime in to appreciate the way that HEPEX has not only introduced me to a range of interesting and fun collaborators and friends, but also it has broadened my knowledge and experience of the science and practice of forecasting as it is being implemented around the world. Seeing the development of this field in action and the people or groups who are driving it forward has been a vital part of my career. Thanks to the bloggers and HEPEX!

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