Skywarn Belgium

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CONvect
Beiträge: 3
Registriert: Dienstag 24. April 2012, 22:22

Skywarn Belgium

Beitrag von CONvect » Dienstag 24. April 2012, 23:36

Hi everyone.

My name is Dzengiz, I am a belgian certified meteorologist and would like to participate in the SKYWARN program.

Belgium does not have a SKYWARN branch and I would like to apply to create SKYWARN Belgium. Is there a person who I can talk to about the terms & duties a Belgian Branch would have to agree to?

In Belgium there is a large stormchase community which we have brought together with our non profit "company" (if you can call it that) 'Fastowarn'.

We build our own weathermaps (using datasets of UKMET, GFS, ECMWF, RUC, MM5, NOGAPS), cross sections and have access to significant meteorological data as satellites (IR/RGB/VIS)

Our current certificates are:

*Mesoscale Meteorology: A primer for forecasters
*Mesoscale Meteorology: Definition of the mesoscale
*Mesoscale Meteorology: How mesoscales models work
*Thermally-forced circulations 1: Sea-breezes
*Thermally-forced circulations 2: Mountain/Valley-breezes
*Jetstreak-circulations
*Flow interaction with topography
*Landfalling fronts & cyclones
*Mesoscale banded precipitation
*Freezing, melting, precipitation type & NWP, numerical weather predictions
*Summer severe weather
*Principles of Convection 1: Buoyancy & CAPE
*Principles of Convection 2: Using hodographs
*Principles of Convection 3: Shear & convective Storms
*Severe Convection 2: Mesoscale convective systems
*Mesoscale convective systems: Squall lines & bow Echoes
*A convective storm matrix: Buoyancy-Shear dependencies
*An MCS matrix
*Predicting supercell motion using Hodograph techniques
*Frontogenetical circulation & stability
*Vorticity maxima & comma patterns
*Vorticity minima & Anticomma patterns
*Recognition & impact of Vorticity Maxima & Minima in Satellite imagery
*Space weather basics (Second edition)
*SPORT - Infusing NASA Technology into NWS NFO
*Topics in dynamic meteorology - Thermal wind
*Weather radar fundamentals
*Radar Signatures for Severe Convective Weather
*Skew-T Mastery
*Skywarn spotter training
*Role of the skywarn spotter
*Skywarn spotter: Convective basics

I would consider it an honour if you would oblige.

Dearest regards,
Dzengiz Tafa

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Cumulus Humilis
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Beiträge: 5701
Registriert: Mittwoch 18. August 2004, 19:39
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Re: Skywarn Belgium

Beitrag von Cumulus Humilis » Donnerstag 26. April 2012, 01:26

Hi Dzengiz,

good to see that Belgium is going to participate in the Skywarn project! Now, I think you are familiar with the ideas of Skywarn, so I do not have to explain that. In the moment the Skwarn branches in Europe organize themself in their home country, there are no mandatory terms & duties one has to agree. However, there is a consensus that Skywarn spotter have to provide valuable reports of severe weather events to the public and (national) weather services. The thresholds for these reports should be coordinated with the weather services to eventually consider national particularities and then layed down in "reporting rules" which are obligatory for the spotters.

If you like to know how we work here in Germany or need help with anything, please do not hesitate to ask. We are notably interested in collaboration and coordination with Skywarn branches in other countries. - Weather is not aware of borders...

Cheers,
Andreas
--
Potz Blitz!

CONvect
Beiträge: 3
Registriert: Dienstag 24. April 2012, 22:22

Re: Skywarn Belgium

Beitrag von CONvect » Donnerstag 26. April 2012, 20:06

Hi

Thank you very much for the reply.

I am very interested in your offer about an insight how Skywarn Germany works and how Skywarn Germany provides the information to the public & (National) Weatherservices.

When I followed the Skywarn spotter Training I am fully aware about the elements that make up a good severe weather report & which elements are of no concern... I am also aware that safety for spotters is of primordial concern so that is something we can not stress enough to the community.

I understand that Skywarn reports/imports severe weather events to the ESWD database & that information can/must be exchanged with neighboring countries to provide them with the nessecairy information in order to save lives & diminish material losses because as you so elegantly replied: "Weather does not care about National borders".

Can I start to build a website to put Skywarn Belgium online or do I wait for further communication with you about the who, how, where, when & what of my upcoming Belgian Branch?

I am very curious how Skywarn Germany fits in "the bigger picture" in the relationship Skywarn - National weather service - Public, so I am happy to oblige to your offer. Do we communicate through this channel or is there a better way for further communication?

If you'd rather mail me about the upcoming Belgian Branch you can do this at the following Email adress: dzengiz@fastowarn.be

I am looking forward to your reply.

Dear regards,
Dzengiz

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Cumulus Humilis
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Re: Skywarn Belgium

Beitrag von Cumulus Humilis » Donnerstag 26. April 2012, 23:32

Hi Dzengiz,

in the next days (weekend) I will give you a description how Skywarn Germany works and how are the connections between our Skywarn network, the weather services, the ESWD and the public. I will write it here, because maybe others are also interested in that.

Of course you can start to setup a website for Skywarn Belgium. However, I think you will start with a concept layout and you can send me a link to that before you go online with it, so perhaps I can give a hint or two or at least a comment.

Cheers,
Andreas
--
Potz Blitz!

CONvect
Beiträge: 3
Registriert: Dienstag 24. April 2012, 22:22

Re: Skywarn Belgium

Beitrag von CONvect » Freitag 27. April 2012, 01:47

Hi Andreas

I'm looking forward to your description about how everything works. I was always curious about the way it fits all together. And ofcourse I am always willing to improve from people with hands-on experience.

Since my goal is to provide the best service possible, your advice & comments about the webpage is more than welcome. I will surely do my best to create a template on which you can give your ideas for the best performance. Uniformity is the best way to work as a part of "the bigger picture" so I will do my best to follow your guidelines.

As a last note I would like to mention my gratitude with the the openhearted replies, opportunities and information you provide. I am sure they will me more then helpful.

Dear regards,

Dzengiz

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Cumulus Humilis
1. Vorsitzender
Beiträge: 5701
Registriert: Mittwoch 18. August 2004, 19:39
Wohnort: Im Herzen von Rheinland-Pfalz

Re: Skywarn Belgium

Beitrag von Cumulus Humilis » Dienstag 1. Mai 2012, 23:55

Hello Dzengiz,

due to other tasks it took somewhat longer than planned to write the description, sorry for that. But here we go now:


Skywarn Germany - How do we work?

1. What is Skywarn Germany?
Skywarn Germany is a network of volunteers being interested in improvement of severe (convective) weather awareness and warning for the public. Legally we are a registered non-profit association. The primary concept is to gather severe weather reports and forward them for free to anyone being interested in. Subscriber to the service can be anyone: weather services, emergency services, etc., but also every private person.

2. Who is behind it?
Our supporters, the suppliers of the severe weather reports are called "spotters". To be a spotter you don't have to be a member of the association. We distinguish two types of spotters:

Basic spotters, who give reports via a web form and support with damage reports and assessments. The web form reports can be seen by anyone on our home page, however they are not forwarded automatically.

Advanced spotters, who give their reports via a telephone hotline. These reports will be immediately forwarded to the subscribers via email or a special ftp-interface. Advanced spotters who are members of the association are called "advanced spotter premium" (ASP) and they have access to extended weather informations (radar and satellite images, lightning detection)

A Basic spotter can become anyone who is interested in weather and supporting the public. One has just to register via a web form.

Advanced spotters have to pass an examination to prove their knowledge about convective weather basics, signs of severity, safety issues and the reporting procedure. The examination divides in two parts: A multiple choice test and a "practical" test in which the candidate has to explain situations shown on pictures or videos, decide whether or not what is seen is exceeding the thresholds for a severe weather report and make a (simulated) call to the reporting hotline. To prepare for the examination anyone can use our online learning center (which was reviewed and improved during the last month) which provides all the information a advanced spotter needs to know for the test. One can also make "training examinations" to find out if the the time for the "real one" has come. Advanced spotter examinations are made face to face only. We don't make them online. Examinations are offered at most events and locations we participate, like the Extreme Weather Congress (EWK) in Hamburg, storm chaser convention(s), etc., our annual general meeting and on demand (depending on the number of candidates) all over the republic.

3. Are spotters = storm chasers?
No. A spotter does not have to be a storm chaser. He / she can also be someone not primarily interested in severe weather, but for whatever reason (sports, gardening, outdoor work) interested in weather in general. These spotters are not chasing severe thunderstorms, however if one comes up to the place they are, they are able to identify it and give a valuable report which can be very helpful for others lying in the path of the storm. Anyway many of the spotters are chasers as well, which is a good thing in general - at least if they do not miss to give a report in their excitement about what they see... ;-)

4. How are the spotters coordinated?
Now, in difference to Skywarn US which is part of the county- or statewide emergency management, Skywarn Germany has not the status of an emergency service and is not directly related to an emergency service or law enforcement. So, what we do and how we do it is in our own hand (within the legal boundaries, of course). Yet we have no policies about alarming or coordination of spotter activities for upcoming severe weather. Its up to every spotter whether she or he looks out for what's coming. However, some groups or communities of spotters (being mostly chasers as well) organize themselves from time to time.

5. What's about the relationship between Skywarn Germany and the weather and emergency services?
Skywarn Germany is independent and not associated to any other organization. However, we have and foster cooperations with weather services, scientific organisations and public services. Main cooperation partners are the ESSL (ESWD), the national weather service Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) and the Unwetterzentrale (UWZ) of Meteomedia. Cooperation here means we particularly consider the needs of our partners when it comes to reporting policies, processing and distribution of reports, etc. For instance we defined and set up a special data communication interface which lets the ESWD make automatic database entries from advanced spotter reports and allows the DWD's meteorologists on duty to see the report immediately on their screen of the NinJo system. I am not sure whether the UWZ also makes use of that data communication interface, but I think they do, because it's more flexible and probably faster than the email distribution we offer in standard. Our benefit from the cooperations is an extended access to data and informations from our partners. Extremely helpful are e. g. rapidly updating high resolution radar data we receive from the national weather service's radar network. We store and process them in our own system IRAS (Interactive Radar Analysis Service) to give ASPs highly actual informations about the situation from the radar's view and for after event analysis.


6. How does the reporting work?
Now, first we have a policy which defines the events and the thresholds for reporting. This policy was created in cooperation with the weather services and the ESSL. It is mandatory for basic and advanced spotters.

A basic spotter witnessing a severe weather event creates a report via a web form on our website. These reports can be obtained by everyone, but they do not get specially processed or forwarded.

If an advanced spotter witnesses an event fitting the conditions of the policy, he / she makes a call to a special free of charge hotline number. Behind this number is our automatic reporting system. If the spotter's phone number is registered, access to the system is granted. Now a report can be made and if the spotter has agreed to the locating service and her / his mobile service provider supports it, the spotter's position is automatically located by the reporting system.

To make the report digitally processable we provided each type of event with a number (e. g. 1 = tornado,... , 4 = gust, 5 = hail, etc.) The intensity of the event and the direction the thunderstorm is moving got number codes as well. For the direction the number pad of the phone represents the wind rose, so 2 = north, 8 = south, 3 = northeast, etc. The spotter is now guided by a voice assistant to enter the code numbers for the event type, intensity and direction, e. g. 4-2-7 means gust, intensity about T3 (152 - 183 km/h), direction northeast. After entering the codes the spotter should mandatorily give complementary informations about the event in a voice mail which is also recorded by the reporting system. Then the report is finshed.

The reporting system processes and provides that report immediately via the data communication interface and sends it to the report subscribers via email. The published report contains date and time of the report, if possible the coordinates of the spotter and a (estimated) city or village name there, event type, intensity and direction in clear text and a wav-file containing the voice mail. The spotters identity will not be published for privacy reasons, but it can be found out by the admin of the system in case of misuse. Currently we think about additional capabilities for the reporting.

The fact that the advanced spotter reports are directed immediately to the subscribers (and within to the operational desks of the weather services) without further filtering or evaluation demands a high reliability and quality of the reports. This is the main reason why we require a examination of the advanced spotters.


7. What else is Skywarn Germany doing?
We try to inform the public about the perils of convective weather and preventable risks. We do this with occasional presentations on site or the informations on our website.

We also investigate severe weather events and do damage assessments. Particularly followed by an analysis to understand what exactly happened, how convective mechanisms work and eventually come to conclusions how individual or public safety can be improved in severe weather.


I hope this brief description of Skywarn Germany gives an insight the organisation, goals and work. If you are interested in more details about the one or other point or something that's not explained here, don't hesitate to ask.

Cheers,
Andreas
--
Potz Blitz!

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