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Operational nowcasting: INCA-BE

Meteorological services worldwide experience the increased demand of forecasts with short lead-times (nowcasts) with a high temporal and spatial resolution and a high update frequency. In last years, nowcasting products especially for precipitation, have become increasingly popular amongst the broad public. Also more and more nowcasting applications find their way to mobile devices and platforms.

Until recently, the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium could not fully satisfy this demand, since it had no dedicated nowcasting system producing these nowcasts. In the beginning of 2010, the RMI started the implementation of the INCA system in Belgium: INCA-BE. INCA (Integrated Nowcasting through Comprehensive Analysis) is a nowcasting system that has been developed at the meteorological service of Austria (ZAMG). We adapted the system for a domain around Belgium and for our local observational data flow. It was integrated in our operational chain during spring 2012. This first operational version is used internally by our forecasters, and also by some external test-users like the regional hydrological services. The system is, however, under constant development, and new features and improvements will be added in the future.

 

An example: snow case on Dec 15, 2011

This was a case with light snow in the highest parts of Belgium (Hautes Fagnes), and rain or mix rain+snow elsewhere. In the image below, the INCA-BE precipitation forecast is given for 2 hours ahead. The upper panel of this figure shows the precipitation amount, while the lower panel gives the precipitation type. Snow is represented by the light blue colour on this panel. In this case, the snow was correctly predicted by INCA-BE, verified by visual inspection by the weather webcams in that area.

 

INCA-BE is also able to generate interactively meteograms. Here a meteogram is shown for the station at Mont-Rigi in the Hautes Fagnes, for the same situation. The upper panel represents temperature at 2 meter; the lower panel the precipitation. Forecasted values are shown in purple, while analysed values are grey. Note the occurence of snow while temperatures are slightly positive.

 

Reyniers M., Delobbe L., 2012, The nowcasting system INCA-BE in Belgium and its performance in different synoptic situations, the 7th European Conference on Radar in Meteorology and Hydrology (ERAD2012), Toulouse, France (extended abstract)

Contact person for this topic: Maarten Reyniers