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This list describes the status of some feedback and requests put forward by users during the User Voice Corner feedback session at the ECMWF UEF meeting held in June 2018. Items are included here mainly to provide some useful clarification and/or an update where significant progress has already been made. Many more items are being worked on or considered for future action. References are made below to cycle 46r1; this is the new IFS model version that should go live in summer 2019.


  • Re-analyses and Re-forecasts - big demand

The ERA5 re-analysis data, from 1978 until 2019, went live in January 2019. Resolution is 31km compared to 80km for ERA-Interim. Late in 2019 ERA5 re-analysis data from 1950-1978 will also be released. Re-forecasts, which currently use ERA-Interim analyses as the basis for their initialisation, will start using ERA5 analyses for this purpose with cycle 46r1. (ERA5 versus ERA-Interim)

  • Can 1 year of re-forecasts be made available immediately with each new cycle ?

This is technically not possible at present with current supercomputer resources. It is also important to stress that model changes between cycles are not usually that great, and so model characteristics do not commonly change that much. This means that old re-forecasts are not as redundant as they might appear.

  • Provide 06Z and 18Z BC forecast runs, and 1-hourly IFS data where available

ECMWF tabled a motion to Council in late June 2018. seeking approval for these to be disseminated for a fee. This motion was passed and the data was first made available in October 2018. (licenses for ECMWF data)

  • Can the IFS model issue issue of snow on the ground not melting quickly enough be fixed ?

This is an active area of research; a new 5 layer snow scheme has proven beneficial in addressing this and other near surface weather-related issues, although further tests are still needed before operational implementation becomes viable. (Model issues)

  • Dissatisfaction in some quarters with the ECMWF method of computing CAPE

In response to this being repeatedly voiced, ECMWF has set up a short collaborative project with ESSL (the European Severe Storms Laboratory) to review computation of CAPE in the IFS and related usage in member and co-operating states. There will be some changes to the "max CAPE" and "max CAPE-shear" output in 46r1.

  • Why are winds over mountains underestimated ?

The Verification team have been tasked with investigating and documenting this issue.

  • Can ECMWF improve its visibility diagnostic ?

Dynamic aerosol-moisture interaction is an important missing link. Parallel work on the atmospheric composition version of the IFS (C-IFS) should in the long term (years) help address this issue. In the meantime we continue to investigate cases and document findings. Users should also note that some C-IFS output is now available in ecCharts which can help, for example, with the prediction of reduced visibility in duststorm/sandstorm situations. (ecCharts update that included CAMS data e.g. for dust)

  • Winds wanted at more near-surface levels, for wind energy applications

The utility of providing data for other levels, in addition to the 100m level data already disseminated, has been studied; the conclusion was that "200m winds" were sufficiently different to justify inclusion, so these will be made available for HRES and ENS with cycle 46r1 (u,v). 50m winds provided little extra information, partly because of lack of ENS levels near the surface, and so will not be added.

  • More aviation-related indices wanted

ECMWF has been researching turbulence and icing diagnostics, but these will not be introduced in 2019.

  • Can ECMWF make ecCharts refresh faster?

This long-standing problem is being addressed via new cloud and map-drawing technologies (one component is similar to the tiles used by google maps). We plan to advertise to users a pre-operational version of this at the June 2019 UEF meeting.

  • Request for variables on the "PV=1.5" level

Will be added in cycle 46r1: variables will mirror those already available for the PV=2 level.

  • Users want more fire and drought-related products

Operational fire danger products are produced at ECMWF as part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, in the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) . Drought-related products are not being actively developed at the current time, due to resource limitations. (EFFIS)

  • Better MARS documentation wanted

ECMWF reviews regularly the MARS user documentation. A more substantial review of the MARS request language is planned for this year as part of consolidating the MARS and Dissemination request languages. (MARS user documentation)

  • Faster MARS access wanted

ECMWF has increased capacity with new disk technology. Some data, for example re-analyses, can be accessed more quickly via another route - the CDS (Climate Data Store). Users are encouraged to use this channel wherever possible. (downloading ERA5 data through the CDS)