HEPEX: a community of research and practice to advance hydrologic ensemble prediction

By Hannah Cloke

Although formal funded societies and projects can be very important in advancing research and improving how science is used, the unfunded voluntary community initiative of HEPEX has been one of the most important networks that I have been involved in during my career so far. HEPEX (which stands for Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction Experiment) began in 2004 just as I took up my first post as a University Lecturer. HEPEX aims to advance the science and practice of hydrological ensemble prediction and how it is used for risk-based decision making.

Participation in HEPEX is open to anyone wishing to contribute to its objectives, and so the HEPEX community thrives through organising scientific workshops and sessions at major conferences (such as the European Geosciences Union General Assembly every Spring), coordinating joint experiments, highlighting best practice in hydrologic ensemble prediction systems to help practitioners find out how ensemble prediction is being used around the world in different applications (such as for hydropower or flood forecasting), and through our online community interaction including webinars and blog discussions (www.hepex.org; @hepexorg).  The HEPEX community are also very keen to develop serious games to help communicate best practice and to understand how we can improve forecast communication (Arnal et al, 2016).

It is not always easy to explain what you work on, especially when you have to avoid using jargon specific to your field. Yet, this is something that we all have to do. It is important to be able to explain your research simply in order to communicate effectively with scientists in other fields and, for example, businesses, policy makers and the public.  This week in HEPEX we have been thinking about this with the help of a little competition: using only the 200 most commonly used words of the English dictionary, explain “Ensemble hydrological forecasting”. Please consider having a try, you could win yourself a special mystery prize!

The next HEPEX meeting will be in Melbourne in February 2018 in the height of the gorgeous warm Australian summer. The theme for the workshop is ‘breaking the barriers’ to highlight current challenges facing ensemble forecasting researchers and practitioners and how they can (and have!) been overcome.  How can you resist such a tempting offer?

Want to know more? Want to join our community?

HEPEX website: www.hepex.org

HEPEX twitter: @hepexorg

Arnal, L., Ramos, M.-H., Coughlan de Perez, E., Cloke, H. L., Stephens, E., Wetterhall, F., van Andel, S. J., and Pappenberger, F., 2016. Willingness-to-pay for a probabilistic flood forecast: a risk-based decision-making game, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3109-3128, doi:10.5194/hess-20-3109-2016.

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