IF-Scale draft published for public commenting

ESSL and collaborators drafted a document on the “International Fujita Scale” (IF-Scale). It defines a new method to rate tornado and wind damage and was presented at the European Conference on Severe Storms in Bucharest, Romania, earlier this month.

The document is open for commenting until 31 May 2023. ESSL plans to implement the new scale in the European Severe Weather Database by 1 July 2023.

More information on the IF-Scale draft you can find here.

First ESSL Expert Workshop on Severe Weather Warnings: from Expectations via Physical Ingredients to Impact-based Warnings and Beyond

The workshop is scheduled for autumn, from 16 to 18 October 2023, and takes the very broad view. Target audience are forecasters (“warners”) and heads of forecasters, researchers and practicioners related to warnings, civil protection authorities, and end users of warnings (especially from critical infrastructure).

The following topics will be covered:

  1. The broad multidisciplinary view: risk ethics (philosophy, moral reasoning), human behaviour (psychology) and legal frameworks (just) in the context of the warning process
  2. Limitations and new prospects for ingredients-based warning approaches: How should the risk matrix be defined? Can more life be brought to forecasting impacts beyond the marketing term?
  3. Communication – dealing with uncertainty: Why is there so little progress in communicating the warning uncertainty, and how can this be improved?
  4. Action advice and public education: from understanding to response and action. We are seeking for good practice examples.
  5. General and tailored warnings: What are the necessary differences? And how can the gaps between warners, emergency managements and end users be best bridged?
  6. From physical ingredients to impact warnings: Are impacts in high-end meteorological events easier to predict and stronger tied to the physical magnitude than in more frequent and modest events?
  7. A critical moment in the meteorological sphere: transition from forecasting to nowcasting and the resulting potential sudden jump in probability of extremely rare events. Should there be a stronger focus on the warning means in the “last hour”? When in time and at which probability and intensity threshold should sirens and other “strongly interrupting and potentially also frightening” means of warning be used?
  8. Cross-institutional and cross-border communication: What is needed to ensure the flow of relevant information in extremely time-critical and high workload situations?

A detailled invitation can be downloaded here (PDF).

ECSS: Registration open and programme published

The registration for the 11th European Conference on Severe Storms is open and normal registration fees apply until 7 April. Starting 8 April, late registration fees do apply.

Please register here for on-site participation or online streaming (remote presentations are not foreseen).

General information on the ECSS including the scientific and social programme can be found here.

ESSL-EUMETSAT annual forecaster event

Online webinar: 20 April 2023, 12:00 to 14:30 UTC
Free of cost. Targeted to forecasters in nowcasting and warning operations.

We present and discuss MTG-related news relevant to forecasters: 

  • The current status of the MTG commissioning (Stephan Bojinski, EUMETSAT)
  • The ESSL Testbed 2022 in retrospect and lessons learned from expert workshops (Alois Holzer, ESSL)
  • Testimonial from a forecaster who participated in the ESSL Testbed 2022
  • Interesting cases from 2022 revisited (Tomas Pucik, ESSL) 

Please register for the webinar here:


This webinar features key 2022 results from the joint ESSL-EUMETSAT activity introducing MTG data to operational weather forecasters in Europe. ESSL trainers describe highlights of severe convective weather cases that were analysed by forecasters during the testbeds in Wiener Neutstadt. Forecasters provide testimonials on their testbed experience and the importance of satellite products in the forecasting process. In addition, the ESSL expert workshops put the spotlight on novel MTG products such as the 0.9um FCI channel to detect low-level moisture, or the Lightning imager. The audience will learn about key take-aways from these workshops, for later use in training on MTG for all users.

Nikolai Dotzek Award 2023 to Pao Wang, Martin Setvák and Kris Bedka

The Nikolai Dotzek Award goes to three meteorologists with focus on satellite studies. The most prestigious award in the global severe weather research community is presented every second year in the memory of ESSL’s founding father, Dr. Nikolai Dotzek, for an outstanding contribution to the science of severe storms.

As the new generation of satellites in Europe, the United States, and Japan have been launched, their increased capabilities in terms of available channels and resolution will allow for better nowcasting of severe convective storms. It is a good time to acknowledge those who have contributed significantly to our understanding of the processes that occur on top of the convective storms, how they relate to storm severity, and how they can be operationally detected. ESSL presents the 2023 Nikolai Dotzek Award to three scientists who have strongly pushed satellite meteorology forward.

Pao Wang

The first awardee is Prof. Pao-Kuan Wang, who has used very high-resolution cloud models to simulate the processes at the top of convective storms. Simulations showed that overshooting tops act as obstacles to the anvil-relative wind. Thus, most of the storm top features that we observe from a satellite, such as cold rings, cold-Us, above-anvil cirrus plumes, storm-top gravity waves or ship wave patterns result from the interaction between overshooting tops and the ambient flow. Wang has also shown that some of these features result from internal gravity wave breaking processes, consequently contributing to lower stratospheric moistening. Wang was, until recently, director of the Research Center for Environmental Changes of the Academia Sinica and formerly professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Numerical simulation of a supercell showing the development of above-anvil cirrus plume as an example work of Pao Wang.

Martin Setvák

The second awardee is Dr. Martin Setvák, who in the late 1980’s described various forms of increased 3.7 micron cloud top reflectivity of convective storms and discussed its possible link to storm severity and updraft strength. Later he elaborated this concept with Dr. Charles A. Doswell. Together with Dr. Vincenzo Levizanni, Setvák formulated a concept of above-anvil cirrus plumes above convective storms on satellite imagery. He also contributed to the categorization of various storm-top phenomena, such as cold rings, closely collaborating on these topics with Prof. Pao K. Wang. Setvák is the father of the so-called “sandwich imagery”, a combination of infrared and visible channels, which is now in widespread use across the world. Martin Setvák has formally retired but still works part-time at the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI).

NOAA-9 AVHRR imagery of an extremely severe hailstorm on 18 August 1986 over central Czechia clearly shows an above-anvil cirrus plume. This was one of the first storms of which the presence of the plume was noted by Martin Setvák.

Kris Bedka

The third awardee is Kristopher Bedka, who together with his team made significant strides toward the automation of the detection of both overshooting tops and above-anvil cirrus plumes. Using large records of these phenomena and their properties, Bedka investigated their statistical relationships with severe weather beneath them. His recent work concentrated on the automatic detection of high ice water content in deep convective storms, adversely impacting aircraft engine and air probe performance. He demonstrated the utility of 1-min super rapid scanning for analysis of satellite-observed cloud properties. His ongoing work expands towards wind profiling with an airborne doppler aerosol lidar – to only mention one of several fields of activity – and offers great promises for nowcasting and improving severe storms climatologies. Kris Bedka is affiliated with the NASA Langley Research Center.

An example from Kris Bedka’s work: Above-anvil cirrus plumes at the top of severe convective storms over Argentina on 8 February 2018. The northern one produced hail exceeding 18 cm.

The Nikolai Dotzek Award trophy represents a massive hailstone. The prize money is 1000 EUR together with an invitation to the European Conference on Severe Storms (ECSS). The award was instigated by the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL) in 2011. The handing over of the award trophy usually crowns the dinner of the ECSS conference and will take place this year in Bucharest, Romania, on the 10th of May. 

Nikolai Dotzek Award trophy

The ESSL aims to contribute to the preparedness of European society for the impacts of severe storms by advancing scientific understanding, building human capacity, and fostering cooperation within Europe in this field.

ESSL provides training to forecasters, scientists, and policymakers on topics related to convective weather. ESSL participates in research projects and organizes the European Conference on Severe Storms to improve and stimulate the exchange of knowledge on severe convection. ESSL aims to establish and maintain close relationships with national weather services and research institutes to strengthen pan-European collaborations. ESSL maintains the European Severe Weather Database, to support research based on observations of severe convective weather or any related impact.

You can download a PDF document of this content here.

More information on the Nikolai Dotzek Award can be found here.

New MTG-I1 satellite: ESSL trains meteorologists from all over Europe on new data

The new EUMETSAT MTG-I (Meteosat Third Generation – Imaging) satellite, launched on 13 December, will bring more frequent data with higher spatial resolution and more channels than ever before. With the lightning imager, it will also bring a completely new capability to monitor storms from space.

ESSL collaborates with EUMETSAT as part of its User Preparation programme for the new MTG satellites with its testbeds and ESSL training activities.

MTG low level moisture proxy data (from MODIS) visualized in the EUMETSAT-ESSL Testbed Displayer for 21 June 2022: dark blue areas are very moist, green areas show moderate and yellow areas low moisture content of the lower troposphere. High quantities of moisture are crucial for severe storms to form.

Operational data from the new MTG-I1 satellite will become available in the second half of 2023 if everything goes well. The current cooperation between EUMETSAT and ESSL involves training on how to use the new data. At the EUMETSAT-ESSL Testbeds weather forecasters are being prepared so that they are able to quickly make use of the new capabilities of MTG. Besides providing training, ESSL experiments with new products, such as a visualization of atmospheric moisture very close to the ground – an important physical ingredient for convective storms.

Participant of the recent EUMETSAT-ESSL Testbed analyzing satellite data at the ESSL Research and Training Centre in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, including the newest version of NWC SAF products (CI product in this case). MTG will offer much improved temporal and spatial resolution for such products.

Another focus of the multi-year cooperation between EUMETSAT and ESSL is the preparing for the new lightning imager (LI) data aboard MTG.

Testbed participants providing feedback to the developers of novel satellite products at the EUMETSAT-ESSL Testbed.

Link to EUMETSAT page on MTG

ECSS2023 Second Announcement

The “Second Announcement and Call for Papers” has been published for the 11th European Conference on Severe Storms. The ECSS2023 will take place from 8 to 12 May 2023 in Bucharest, Romania.

ECSS2023 Second Announcement

The scope of the conference covers all aspects of severe convective storms.
Researchers, forecasters, risk and emergency managers, and others dealing
with severe storms from around the world are invited to submit contributions.

Abstract submission and registration for the conference are now possible here. The deadline for abstract submission is 12 January 2023.

In addition you might also be interested in other topics from our latest ESSL Newsletter:


ECSS2019 Conference Photo

Taken in the poster area during today’s morning coffee break, the official ECSS2019 Conference Photo is now available for download here:

ECSS2019 Conference Photo (photographer: Thomas Schreiner, ESSL. CC license: BY-SA)

It also has been published on the ECSS webage.