The Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

JCOMM Technical Report No. 68

8th JCOMM-TCP Workshop on Storm Surge and Wave Forecasting

19-23 November 2012, Nairobi, Kenya



Summary of the Workshop
          Recommendations and Actions
          Plans for follow-up activities (national and regional scales)
Workshop Web Page: 
          References and Material for Pre-Study
          Workshop Programme
          Presentations and Information notes
          List of Participants
Evaluation on the conduct of the Workshop          
  Pictures from the Workshop
List of JCOMM Technical Reports



Executive Summary

         The Eighth JCOMM-TCP Workshop on Storm Surge and Wave Forecasting (SSW-8) was held at the Institute for Meteorological Training and Research (IMTR), Nairobi, Kenya, from 19 to 23 November 2012.

          This series of workshop is co-organized by the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) and the WMO Tropical Cyclone Programme (TCP), with a view to enhancing capacities of the National Hydrological and Meteorological Services (NMHSs) in providing necessary forecasting and warning services against natural marine hazards that complement broader disaster preparedness and mitigation activities. Noting the emerging issue of recurrent coastal inundation by storm surges particularly in the South and East African coast, the eighth Workshop is convened with a regional focus on South and East African countries, and aims to directly contribute to the development of the Storm Surge Watch Scheme (SSWS) of WMO.

          After the Welcome addresses from Ms Stella Aura (Deputy Director Education, Training, and Research – KMD), Dr Boram Lee (WMO Representative) welcomed all participants to the workshop and encouraged to take this opportunity to enhance regional capabilities for storm surge and wave modelling. The workshop then was opened by Ms Nancy Karigithu, Director General of the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), and in doing so, she emphasized the importance of the marine meteorological services for maritime and fisheries community in the Region and wished all participants a successful workshop. Mr Ali Mafimbo (Senior Assistant Director, KMD) offered a vote of thanks to WMO for organizing this Workshop in the Region I, and to IMTR/KMD for hosting and supporting the event.

          Marine forecasters and researchers of related fields from East/South African countries - including Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania – participated in the Workshop. The workshop was initially arranged such that there would be lecture sessions to be attended by all, and parallel hands-on training sessions where the attendees could exercise the provided operational forecasting and analysis models with direct interaction with the experts:

          4 weeks prior to the Workshop, all participants were requested to review pre-study materials ( that were provided by the lecturers and the WMO secretariat, to obtain basic knowledge required for the hands-on training. These materials, as well as the source codes/data for the trained models, were also provided as electronic copies during the workshop;

          Each participating country presented a national report on the status of marine meteorological and oceanographic forecasting and services, as well as the status of related observing systems and available data. Based on the national reports, all participants further discussed on regional/national gaps and requirements to improve storm surge predictability, which helped better understand the regional requirements for 1) information access, 2) sea state/ water level measurements, and 3) model operation.

          The general lectures during the Workshop covered the topics of; 1) Regional development of the Storm Surge Watch Scheme (SSWS) by the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) La Reunion (by Dr Taoyong Peng, WMO, and Mr Hubert Quetelard, Météo-France); 2) Implementation of the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) in Region I (by Mr James Kongoti, KMD); 3) Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP, by Dr Boram Lee, WMO); and 5) Global/Regional products for wave and storm surge measurements, forecasting, and verification (by Dr Hendrik Tolman, NOAA);

          The hands-on training sessions – following the introductory lecturers of each model – included; 1) WAVEWATCH III® developed by USA/NOAA and operated by a number of operational and research agencies in the world, provided by Dr Hendrik Tolman (NOAA); 2) Storm Surge model developed by Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D) and operated by several countries in North Indian Ocean, provided by Professor Shishir Dube (India); 3) Storm Surge Model developed by Japan Meteorological Agency and operated by several countries in North-West Pacific region, provided by Mr Nadao Kohno (Japan); and, 4) Storm Surge model developed by Météo-France and operated in the RSMC La Reunion for the Region, provided by Mr Hubert Quetelard (Météo-France).

          A visit to the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) was facilitated, allowing all participants an opportunity to see the available facilities and discuss with the KMD staff on the overall operation of NWP and forecasting service production/delivery.

          The workshop was successfully conducted, thanks to the strong involvement and enthusiasm of participants. All participants agreed that the lectures as well as the models used for hand-on training were found useful and informative, and it is expected that the participants would utilize and apply the knowledge obtained from this workshop to their countries/services.

          In addition to sharing operational technologies for storm surge and wave forecasting to facilitate the NMHSs’ service delivery, the workshop created a platform for participants to network amongst each other and to share the lessons learnt from each other’s experiences.

          On the last day (23 November 2012), all participants discussed on the results and achievements made during the Workshop, and agreed on a set of recommendations and actions on; 1) regional development for wave and storm surge forecasting; and 2) future conduct of the related training.

          The Workshop was closed at 1300 hours, 23 November 2012. In doing so, Drs Boram Lee and Troyong Peng (WMO), and Ms Stella Aura (IMTR/Kenya) congratulated all Participants for successfully completing the training, and offered the certificates for completion of the course.

          All related information and presented documents of the Workshop are available at the Workshop web site:


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Recommendations and Actions

For regional / national development:

  • Participants will make plans to initiate national/regional activities to develop/improve operational wave and storm surge modelling. Related actions agreed during the workshop are as follows:

    • Action 1, as soon as possible: those Countries/Services that are interested in operating the JMA Storm Surge Model and/or the Météo-France Storm Surge Model will pursue an agreement with JMA (through registration) or Météo-France (through a bilateral agreement) to meet the requirements for obtaining the model and necessary supports for installation. The WMO Secretariat will communicate with Météo-France to discuss feasibility to either share the model or to facilitate the use of the model in the region.

    • Action 2, immediately after the Workshop and continuously: WMO Secretariat, through JCOMM and TCP, to assist the process to; 1) identify countries/Services who are ready to setup a wave/surge forecasting system; and, 2) to identify opportunities and resources for necessary training (e.g. fellowships, cooperation with NOAA African Desk).

    • Action 3, continuous: the lecturers/trainers, with assistance from the WMO Secretariat, will continue interaction with the Participants from those Countries/Services that will setup the trained models in the national operational system, in order to provide necessary advice and assistance.
  • Participants will continue dialogue in the Region to seek ways to improve national services as well as the regional capacity for wave/surge forecasting (such as the RA I Storm Surge Watch Scheme). The emphasis is given to the need for all East African (and South Atlantic) countries to share necessary data for wave/surge forecasting.

    • Action 4, immediately after the Workshop: the Participating Countries (through their NMHSs) will make a consolidated request to NOAA, through the JCOMM Secretariat in WMO in collaboration with the JCOMM Expert Team on Waves and Coastal Hazards Forecasting Systems (ETWCH), for wave model guidance data from NOAA WAVEWATCH III® (from the 50km resolution global grids), for new output points in West Indian and South Atlantic Oceans selected upon the need of South and East African NMHSs.

    • Action 5, continuous: the Participants will continue dialogue at the national level (within the Services) as well as the regional level, to seek ways to strengthen links between related regional activities such as the SSWS (and related plans of RSMC La Reunion) and the RA I SWFDP.

    • Action 6, continuous: all participating countries are urged to identify key data and information that are necessary to develop and maintain operation forecasting for waves and storm surges. They include; 1) improved (more precise and high-resolution) bathymetry over East African coast and over Lake Victoria; 2) real time or near-real-time data from in-situ and satellite observations; 3) available and accessible information for validation of provided forecasting (e.g. observations, model results).
    • Action 7, immediately after the Workshop and coutinuous: the Participants will create a user-group using social network solutions (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) for storm surge and wave modelling problem discussion for African participants. Mauritius will initiate and spearhead the process.
  • It was strongly recommended that the NMHSs providing wave / sea state forecasting would make sure to run a systematic verification process by using available and accessible data/information, for example, observing data (in-situ and satellite) and/or output from widely accepted global/regional models.

For future conduct of the Workshop:

  •  The current format of the Workshop (5 days) are too short to digest and obtain all given knowledge, therefore, organize the future workshops with 2 weeks of time in order to allow sufficient time for hands-on training and exercise. The pre-study materialused at SSW-8 was highly appreciated, and Participants noted that they should be maintained/updated and be further used for future workshops:

    • Action 8, until SSW-9: the WMO Secretariat, through TCP and JCOMM, to analyze feasibility to organize future workshop for 2 weeks of length. Related in-region training activities (e.g. TCP-PWS training workshops) should be considered for potential synergies.

    • Action 9, continuous: the WMO Secretariat, through TCP and JCOMM, with support by lectures/trainers, should maintain and update the online material including the pre-study information. Alternative technologies, such as moodle, could be used for participants to more easily access information.
  • It is important to make sure that the participants in the future workshops would have experience with Linux or similar operation systems, in order to effectively follow the hands-on training sessions.
  • The future workshop programme should include case study– after hands-on sessions, to have Participants to run and test models by using the national/regional data for wave/surge events.
  • The 8th session of this Workshop was the first occasion to train waves and surge models in this region. Participants expressed their hope to organize follow-on training/workshops in this Region to support the national initiations to improve wave/surge forecasting capabilities.


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Plans for follow-up activities (national and regional scales)

  • Kenya/KMD plans to embark on a rigorous exercise to apply WAVEWATCH III for its operation, in the coming months, for West Indian Ocean and for Lake Victoria. An expressive request for support was made to WMO Secretariat, to facilitate necessary training (at NOAA, probably through its Africa Desk) and technical support.

  • South Africa will also implement WAVEWATCH III on the domain of West Indian and South Atlantic Oceans.

  • Mozambique plans to use the WAVEWATCH III for wave forecast along the Mozambique Channel.

  • Madagascar intend to use WAVEWATCH III and JMA Storm Surge Model to develop its coastal and marine forecasting, with further study and test over the domain of interest.

  • Tanzania/TMA plans to establish wave forecast models for coastal region of Tanzania in near future. For this purpose, TMA will collaborate with other national, regional and international institutions.

  • Namibia plans to set up and operationalize the marine meteorology section. It is planned to choose one or two of the provided models at the Workshop, for this purpose.

  • Mauritius and Seychelles intend to conduct tests to adopt the provided models for their forecasts.

  • Kenya/KMD intends to operationalize the JMA Storm Surge model over the western Indian Ocean.

  • Mozambique plans to adopt JMA Storm Surge model or IIT-D Storm surge model for operation.

  • Mauritius informed of the recent development regarding a national agreement on installation/implementation of the early warning system (to link with existing early warning system for cyclones), within the framework of the Adaptation Fund Project, and suggested further discussion to study feasibility to launch a CIFDP national sub-project in the future.

  • The Participants intend to explore possibilities to integrate storm surge and wave modelling in the CIFDP framework, in parallel with the ongoing progress of SWFDP RA I.

  • Tanzania and Kenya will apply the obtained knowledge from the workshop to SWFDP implementation, particularly the WAVEWATCH III model run over the domain of Lake Victoria.


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