10 years of the Sub-Division on Hydrological Forecasting at EGU (2008 – 2018)

Contributed by Maria-Helena Ramos and Femke Davids

The field of Hydrological Forecasting has grown over the last ten years into an interesting and thought-provoking sub-division to the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Through this sub-division, at one of the largest Geoscience conferences in the world, we address many challenges that today’s hydrologists, and also users and decision-makers in the water sector, have to deal with. Below you will find an interesting read into the background and history of this field at EGU.

This week the call-for-sessions has opened for the program of EGU 2019. The procedure for bringing in new sessions is different. The organizers of EGU2019 want to create an opportunity for a more bottom-up approach of conference sessions. Anyone, not only existing conveners, can upload a session to the proposed program. The aim is to create a diverse program with unique sessions.Check here for guidelines.

The chairs of the sub-divisions and main division on Hydrological Sciences will coordinate and adjust the proposed sessions when necessary into an aligned program. In case of overlap of sessions proposed, conveners will be contacted and might have to make changes. We suggest contacting the chair of the Hydrological Forecasting sub-division (Femke Davids) about your idea for a new session and how it would fit under the existing structure of the sub-division, which currently is:

HS4 – Hydrological Forecasting

  • HS4.1 – Forecasting hydrological extremes: (flash) floods, droughts and water scarcity
  • HS4.2 – Improving and quantifying forecasting methodologies and uncertainties
  • HS4.3 – Operational and impact forecasting, preparedness and decision making

Note that when proposing and uploading a session the following rules apply:

  • You can only be main convener for one session at EGU
  • You can be involved as a convener (main and/or co-) for a maximum of 3 sessions in total
  • The number of conveners for a session is limited between 2 minimum and 5 maximum (incl. main convener)
  • (co-)conveners should not have a solicited presentation, or be a presenting author in their own sessions

The public call-for-sessions for EGU 2019 (here) is open from 25th June to 13th Sep 2018.

Are you curious to learn more about the sub-division? Check below its history.

History of the sub-division on Hydrological forecasting at EGU

Back to EGU 2006, there were no sessions directly related (or explicitly devoted) to hydrological forecasting in the Hydrological Sciences (HS) Division programme.

In the EGU 2007 programme, two sessions related to forecasting are co-listed in the HS programme. They were mainly organized by the Natural Hazards (NH) Division. Other forecasting-related sessions were organized in the NH Division, but not co-listed in HS. At this time, the HS Division is not yet structured in sub-divisions. The two sessions co-listed in the 2007 programme were focused on new science and operations related to flash floods. HEPEX appears as one specific session in the programme, convened by Gabor Balint (Vituki, Hungary) and Jutta Thielen (JRC, Italy):

  • NP5.05: Ensemble prediction in hydrology (HEPEX) (co-listed in HS & NH), Convener: Balint, G., Co-Convener: Thielen, J.
  • NH2.02: Operational tools for flash-flood forecasting (co-listed in HS), Convener: Aronica, G., Co-Convener: Borga, M., Moore, R., Mancini, M.

A year later, at EGU 2008, the HS Division starts to be structured in sub-divisions (SD). There were 10 thematic SDs, plus 2 general SDs listed. The SD on Hydrological Forecasting is HS3. Jan Szolgay is the chair of the sub-division, responsible for the organization of its programme during the period running from 2008 to 2011.

In 2008, the final programme included 3 main sessions, plus 1 co-organized. The topics are expanded to explicitly cover specific challenges such as data assimilation and uncertainty quantification. The Flash floods session is complemented with a session focusing on medium to long range forecasting for water management. Operational systems are included, with a session that calls attention to real-world case studies and covers the local, regional and national scales (at that time, we are not yet talking about continental or global scales in hydrological forecasting):

  • HS3.1: Predictive probability, uncertainty and data assimilation in hydrological forecasting, Convener: Moore, R., Co-Convener: Todini, E., Loukas, A., Madsen, H., Thielen-del Pozo, J.
  • HS3.3: Medium and long-term hydrological forecasting for water management and water allocation, Convener: Toth, E., Co-Convener: Aronica, G., Butts, M., Loukas, A.
  • HS3.4: Local, regional and national hydrological forecasting systems. Real-world case studies (Hydrological Forecasting Open Session), Convener: Balint, G., Co-Convener: Blöschl, G., Reggiani, P., Szolgay, J.
  • IS31 – NH2.5/AS4.02/HS3.5: Flash floods: observations and analysis of atmospheric and hydrological controls (co-organized by NH, AS & HS), Convener: Borga, M., Co-Convener: Price, C., Szolgay, J., Mugnai, A.

In EGU 2009, a major change appears in the way the programme is presented in the EGU website, reflecting how the community is growing fast. The HS Division lists 13 sub-divisions. Hydrological forecasting is sub-division HS10. It has grown now to include 5 main sessions. The Flash floods session is now mainly organized by the HS Division. Ensemble forecasting appears again as a separate session. The operational session is now focused on hydrological models and methods for forecasting systems:

  • HS10.1/AS4.3/NP5.4: Ensemble hydrological forecasting: from theory to practice (co-organized), Convener: Prof. Ranzi  | Co-Convener: F Pappenberger
  • HS10.2/NH2.5: Flash flood events: observations, processes and forecasting (co-organized), Convener: M. Borga  | Co-Conveners: G. T. Aronica, G. Blöschl, J. Szolgay, R. Weingartner
  • HS10.3: Uncertainty and data assimilation in hydrological forecasting, Convener: R. J. Moore  | Co-Convener: H. Madsen
  • HS10.4: Medium and long-term hydrological forecasting for water management and allocation, Convener: A. Loukas  | Co-Conveners: E. Toth, G. T. Aronica
  • HS10.5: Hydrological models and methods in operational forecasting systems, Co-Conveners: Butts, J. Danhelka, J. Szolgay, G. Blöschl

In the EGU 2010 programme, the sub-division on Hydrological forecasting is listed as HS11, with 5 sessions. They are now organized slightly different. Two novelties are the inclusion of decision-making and a focus on monitoring and forecasting water scarcity conditions. Additionally, the SD has the honour to host the “Outstanding Young Scientist Lecture”, by Jasper A. Vrugt:

  • HS11.1/AS4.4/NH1.13: Flash floods: Observations, modelling, forecasting and impacts (co-organized), Convener: Marco Borga  | Co-Conveners: Jan Szolgay, Rolf Weingartner, Giuseppe Tito Aronica, Günter Blöschl
  • HS11.2: Hydrological forecasting systems: Models and methods in operational application, Co-Conveners: Jan Szolgay, Günter Blöschl, Michael Butts, Jan Danhelka, Vadim Kuzmin
  • HS11.3: Uncertainty, data assimilation and decision-making in hydrological forecasting (including Outstanding Young Scientist Lecture; Jasper A. Vrugt), Convener: Robert Moore  | Co-Conveners: Henrik Madsen, Ezio Todini
  • HS11.4/AS1.22/NH1.12: Towards practical applications in ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting (co-organized), Convener: Yi He  | Co-Conveners: Florian Pappenberger, Albrecht Weerts, Michael Bruen, Maria-Helena Ramos
  • HS11.5: Hydrological monitoring and forecasting of water scarcity conditions, Convener: Elena Toth  | Co-Conveners: Athanasios Loukas, Giuseppe Tito Aronica

For EGU 2011, the SD Hydrological forecasting is HS4. It has 4 sessions, with the session on hydrological models and operations joining the session on uncertainty, data assimilation and decision-making. For a consecutive year, it has the honour to host an awarded lecture, the “Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists Lecture”, by Florian Pappenberger:

  • HS4.1/NH1.11: Flash floods: observations, modeling, forecasting and risk management (co-organized), Convener: Marco Borga  | Co-Conveners: Jan Szolgay, Giuseppe Tito Aronica, Günter Blöschl, Eric Gaume
  • HS4.2: Hydrological forecasting: application, uncertainty estimation, data assimilation and decision-making, Convener: Robert Moore  | Co-Conveners: Günter Blöschl, Vadim Kuzmin, Henrik Madsen, Jan Szolgay, Albrecht Weerts
  • HS4.3/AS4.13/NH1.12: Towards practical applications in ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting (including Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists Lecture; Florian Pappenberger) (co-organized), Convener: Maria-Helena Ramos  | Co-Conveners: Florian Pappenberger, Albrecht Weerts, Yi He
  • HS4.5: Drought and water scarcity: hydrological monitoring, modeling and forecasting, Convener: Elena Toth  | Co-Conveners: Athanasios Loukas , Giuseppe Tito Aronica

By EGU 2012, HS4 on Hydrological forecasting becomes a well-established sub-division, covering a wide range of topics.

The new SD chair, proposed during the SD meeting held in Vienna in 2011, is Elena Toth. She will be responsible for the organization of the sub-division programme during the next 4-year period, starting in 2012 and up to the 2015 programme. Later, she will be elected for the presidency of the HS Division, in the EGU autumn 2014 elections.

In 2012, HS4 has 5 sessions in its programme, including a new session on the value of forecasts for society, policy and decision-making:

  • HS4.1/GM7.8/NH1.7: Flash floods: processes, forecasting and risk management (co-organized), Convener: M. Borga  | Co-Conveners: G. T. Aronica, G. Blöschl, J. Szolgay, J. J. Gourley
  • HS4.2: Hydrological forecasting: challenges in uncertainty estimation, data assimilation, post-processing, real-time control and decision-making, Convener: R. J. Moore | Co-Conveners: A.H. Weerts, N. Voisin, H.-J. Hendricks Franssen, D. Schwanenberg
  • HS4.3/AS1.18/NH1.2: Ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting for improved risk management: across scales and applications (co-organized), Convener: M.-H. Ramos  | Co-Conveners: F Pappenberger, J.D. Brown, S. J. van Andel, Y. He, G. Mascaro
  • HS4.4: Drought and water scarcity: hydrological monitoring, modeling and forecasting, Convener: E. Toth  | Co-Conveners: G. T. Aronica, J.V. Vogt, A. Loukas
  • HS4.6: Why predict? The value of prediction in hydrological sciences and policy, Convener: J.S. Verkade  | Co-Conveners: A. Iglesias, H. Winsemius

The sub-division programme for EGU 2013 is very much similar to the one in the previous year, with some modifications in the titles and scope of the sessions. The HS Division lists 12 sub-divisions, amongst which Hydrological forecasting (HS4) with 5 sessions:

  • HS4.1/AS1.21/GM7.6/NH1.7: Flash floods: from observations to risk governance (co-organized), Convener: Marco Borga  | Co-Conveners: Eric Gaume, Jan Szolgay, Giuseppe Tito Aronica, Jonathan Gourley, Günter Blöschl
  • HS4.2: Hydrological forecasting: challenges in uncertainty estimation, data assimilation, post-processing and decision-making, Convener: Robert Moore  | Co-Conveners: Albrecht Weerts, Henrik Madsen
  • HS4.3/AS4.20/NH1.13: Ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting for improved risk management: across scales and applications (co-organized), Convener: Schalk Jan van Andel  | Co-Conveners: Florian Pappenberger, Yi He, Maria-Helena Ramos
  • HS4.4: Drought and water scarcity: hydrological monitoring, modelling and forecasting to improve water management, Convener: Jürgen Vogt  | Co-Conveners: Elena Toth, Micha Werner, Giuseppe Tito Aronica, Athanasios Loukas
  • HS4.5: Hydrology for decision-making: the value of forecasts, predictions, scenarios, outlooks and foresights, Convener: Jan Verkade  | Co-Conveners: Hessel Winsemius, Ana Iglesias

A similar situation is found at the EGU 2014 General Assembly (GA): the Hydrological forecasting sub-division (HS4) organizes 5 main sessions:

  • HS4.1/AS4.18/GM7.14/NH1.7: Flash floods and associated hazards: monitoring, forecasting, preparedness and coping strategies (co-organized), Convener: Marco Borga  | Co-Conveners: Eric Gaume, Jonathan Gourley, Giuseppe Tito Aronica, Emmanouil Anagnostou, Massimiliano Zappa
  • HS4.2: Hydrological forecasting: Untangling and reducing predictive uncertainty through improved model process description, data assimilation and post-processing, Convener: Robert Moore  | Co-Conveners: Henrik Madsen, Albrecht Weerts
  • HS4.3/AS1.17/NH1.10: Ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting (co-organized), Convener: Schalk Jan van Andel  | Co-Conveners: Maria-Helena Ramos, Sara Liguori, Florian Pappenberger, Yi He, Ronald Hutjes
  • HS4.4: Drought and water scarcity: hydrological monitoring, modelling and forecasting to improve water management, Convener: Jürgen Vogt  | Co-Conveners: Athanasios Loukas, Elena Toth, Micha Werner, Brunella Bonaccorso
  • HS4.5: Hydrology for decision-making: the value of forecasts, predictions, scenarios, outlooks and foresights, Convener: Jan Verkade  | Co-Conveners: Hessel Winsemius, Ana Iglesias

At the EGU 2015 GA, the sub-division introduces the PICO sessions in its programme. PICOS were first introduced at the GA in 2013. The PICO format seems to be very suitable for demonstrating operational forecasting systems and case studies. This first time is already a success for the operational forecasting session, with 25 presentations scheduled.

In 2015, the Hydrological forecasting SD (HS4) proposes 5 main sessions, plus 1 co-listed with the Climate (CL) division (where the notion of impact models is explicitly addressed):

  • HS4.1/AS1.22/GM7.12/NH1.10: Flash floods, hydro-geomorphic response, forecasting and risk management (co-organized), Convener: Isabelle Braud  | Co-Conveners: Marco Borga, Marcel Hürlimann, Massimiliano Zappa, Francesc Gallart, Jonathan Gourley
  • HS4.2: Hydrological forecasting: Untangling and reducing predictive uncertainty through improved model process description, data assimilation and post-processing PICO Session; Convener: Robert Moore  | Co-Conveners: Henrik Madsen, Albrecht Weerts
  • HS4.3/AS1.3/NH1.3: Ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting (co-organized), Conveners: Sara Liguori , Maria-Helena Ramos  | Co-Conveners: Florian Pappenberger, Schalk Jan van Andel, Giovanni Battista Chirico
  • HS4.4: Drought and water scarcity: hydrological monitoring, modelling and forecasting to improve water management, Convener: Jürgen Vogt  | Co-Conveners: Athanasios Loukas, Elena Toth, Micha Werner, Brunella Bonaccorso
  • HS4.6/NH1.2: Operational forecasting and warning systems for natural hazards: challenges and innovation (co-organized) PICO Session, Convener: Femke Davids  | Co-Conveners: Jan Verkade, Michael Cranston, Jan Szolgay
  • CL5.5/CR3.7/HS4.8/SSS12.14: Linkages between climate and impact models: methodological challenges to serve contextual demands (co-organized), Convener: Ole Rössler  | Co-Conveners: Andreas Fischer, Sven Kotlarski, Renate Wilcke, Annelie Holzkämper, Nadine Salzmann

In EGU 2016, the sub-division on Hydrological forecasting (HS4) has a new chair, Maria-Helena Ramos. She is appointed to be responsible for the sub-division programme from 2016 to 2019. Later, she will be elected president of the HS Division, in the EGU autumn 2017 elections, and step down from the SD HS4 chair after the EGU GA in April 2018.

In 2016, HS4 has 6 main sessions, plus 2 co-listed. New contributors keep joining the programme group as co-conveners, including several early career scientists:

  • HS4.1/AS4.30/GM9.12/NH1.7: Flash floods and associated hydro-geomorphic processes: observation, modelling and warning (co-organized), Convener: Isabelle Braud  | Co-Conveners: Marcel Hürlimann, Marco Borga, Jonathan Gourley, Jose Agustin Brena Naranjo, Massimiliano Zappa
  • HS4.2/NH1.18: Predictability and predictive uncertainty estimation in hydrologic forecasting (co-organized), Convener: Albrecht Weerts  | Co-Conveners: Henrik Madsen, Giovanni Battista Chirico, Rodolfo Alvarado Montero, Oldrich Rakovec, Joshua K. Roundy
  • HS4.3/AS4.31/NH1.9: Ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting (co-organized), Convener: Fredrik Wetterhall  | Co-Conveners: Schalk Jan van Andel, Maria-Helena Ramos, Kolbjorn Engeland, Rodrigo Paiva, Jan Verkade
  • HS4.4: Drought and water scarcity: monitoring, modelling and forecasting to improve hydro-meteorological risk management, Convener: Jürgen Vogt  | Co-Conveners: Athanasios Loukas, Elena Toth, Micha Werner, Brunella Bonaccorso, Christel Prudhomme
  • HS4.5/NH1.10: Operational forecasting and warning systems for natural hazards: challenges and innovation (co-organized) PICO Session, Convener: Femke Davids  | Co-Conveners: Jan Szolgay, Michael Cranston, Ilias Pechlivanidis
  • HS4.8/CL3.10: Servicing Water Users by forecasting, outlooks and climate projections for water services (co-organized), Convener: Bart van den Hurk  | Co-Conveners: Johannes Hunink, Henning Rust, Tim aus der Beek, Florian Pappenberger, Christopher White, Andrew W. Robertson, Louise Crochemore
  • NH1.6/AS1.4/HS4.9: Coupled atmosphere-hydrological modeling for improved hydro-meteorological predictions (co-organized), Convener: Harald Kunstmann  | Co-Conveners: Alfonso Senatore, D. Gochis, Francesca Viterbo
  • NP5.2/AS1.2/HS4.10: Advances in statistical post-processing for deterministic and ensemble forecasts (co-organized), Convener: Stéphane Vannitsem  | Co-Conveners: Jakob W. Messner, Daniel S. Wilks

In EGU 2017, the programme of the SD is very similar to the previous year. The SD Hydrological forecasting (HS4) has 6 main sessions, plus 2 co-listed. The novelty this year is a Short course on Hydrological Forecasting, co-organized with the general sub-division of HS and the Early Career Scientists programme (SC52/HS12.5). It was convened by Shaun Harrigan, and co-convened by Marie-Amélie Boucher and Jan Verkade (lecturers) and Maria-Helena Ramos.

  • HS4.1/AS4.35/GM9.11/NH1.10: Flash floods and associated hydro-geomorphic processes: observation, modelling and warning (co-organized), Convener: Isabelle Braud  | Co-Conveners: Marcel Hürlimann, Marco Borga, Jonathan Gourley, Massimiliano Zappa, Jose Agustin Brena Naranjo
  • HS4.2/NH1.11: Predictability, predictive uncertainty estimation and decision-making in hydrologic forecasting (co-organized), Convener: Albrecht Weerts  | Co-Conveners: Henrik Madsen, Giovanni Battista Chirico, Oldrich Rakovec, Rodolfo Alvarado Montero, Joshua K. Roundy, Hamid Moradkhani, Jan Verkade
  • HS4.3/AS4.36/NH1.12: Ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting (co-organized), Convener: Fredrik Wetterhall  | Co-Conveners: Schalk Jan van Andel, Maria-Helena Ramos, Jan Verkade, Kolbjorn Engeland, Rodrigo Paiva, Tomasz Niedzielski
  • HS4.4: Drought and water scarcity: monitoring, modelling and forecasting to improve hydro-meteorological risk management, Convener: Brunella Bonaccorso  | Co-Conveners: Athanasios Loukas, Christel Prudhomme, Micha Werner, Jürgen Vogt
  • HS4.5/NH1.13: Operational forecasting and warning systems for natural hazards: challenges and innovation (co-organized) PICO session, Convener: Femke Davids  | Co-Conveners: Jan Szolgay, Michael Cranston, Ilias Pechlivanidis
  • HS4.6/CL3.02: From sub-seasonal forecasting to climate projections: predicting hydrologic extremes and servicing water managers (co-organized), Convener: Louise Crochemore  | Co-Conveners: Henning Rust, Christopher White, Johannes Hunink, Tim aus der Beek, Bart van den Hurk, Christel Prudhomme
  • NP5.3/AS1.2/HS4.8: Advances in statistical post-processing for deterministic and ensemble forecasts (co-organized), Convener: Stéphane Vannitsem  | Co-Conveners: Jakob W. Messner, Daniel S. Wilks
  • NH1.6/AS1.4/HS4.9: Coupled atmosphere-hydrological modeling for improved hydro-meteorological predictions (co-organized), Convener: Harald Kunstmann  | Co-Conveners: Alfonso Senatore, D. Gochis , Francesca Viterbo

At the last GA, EGU 2018, the the final programme of the SD on Hydrological forecasting (HS4) has 5 main sessions, plus 1 co-listed, after a final merging of the predictive uncertainty and the ensemble prediction sessions:

  • HS4.1/AS4.27/GM8.7/NH1.11: Flash floods and associated hydro-geomorphic processes: observation, modelling and warning (co-organized), Convener: Isabelle Braud  | Co-Conveners: Marcel Hürlimann, Marco Borga, Jonathan Gourley, Massimiliano Zappa, Jose Agustin Brena Naranjo
  • HS4.3/AS1.10/NH1.13: Ensemble hydro-meteorological forecasting and predictive uncertainty estimation (co-organized), Convener: Fredrik Wetterhall  | Co-Conveners: Tomasz Niedzielski, Maria-Helena Ramos, Jan Verkade, Kolbjorn Engeland, Rebecca Emerton, Oldrich Rakovec, Joshua K. Roundy, Albrecht Weerts
  • HS4.4 Media: Drought and water scarcity: monitoring, modelling and forecasting to improve hydro-meteorological risk management, Convener: Brunella Bonaccorso  | Co-Conveners: Athanasios Loukas, Christel Prudhomme, Micha Werner, Carmelo Cammalleri
  • HS4.5/NH1.14: Operational forecasting and warning systems for natural hazards: challenges and innovation (co-organized)PICO session, Convener: Michael Cranston  | Co-Conveners: Ilias Pechlivanidis, Femke Davids, Gabriela Guimarães Nobre, Konstantinos Bischiniotis, Liz Stephens
  • HS4.6/CL3.13: From sub-seasonal forecasting to climate projections: predicting hydrologic extremes and servicing water managers (co-organized), Convener: Louise Crochemore  | Co-Conveners: Henning Rust, Bart van den Hurk, Christopher White, Johannes Hunink, Tim aus der Beek, Louise Arnal
  • NP5.3/AS1.5/HS4.8: Advances in statistical post-processing for deterministic and ensemble forecasts (co-organized), Convener: Stéphane Vannitsem  | Co-Conveners: Jakob W. Messner, Daniel S. Wilks

In April 2018, in consultation with the SD conveners, Femke Davids is appointed to become the new chair of the sub-division for the programmes covering the period from 2019 to 2022.

On average, 170 abstracts have been presented per year in the SD Hydrological Forecasting programme in the past years. We thank all the contributors that helped to shape and organize the Sub-Division on Hydrological Forecasting, including chairs, conveners and presenters of oral, poster and PICO presentations. We hope that this enthusiastic group will continue pushing forward the limits of science and operations in hydrological forecasting. We expect new ideas and collaborations to emerge in the next years.

If you want to contribute, keep an eye on the EGU 2019 website and join us in the phases of preparation of the next programme (the public call-for-session-proposals is now open) and submission of abstracts (which will be open from Oct 2018 until 10 Jan 2019).

And if we missed or misinterpreted any details on the history of the sub-division, please let us know using the comment box below.

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