Major outcomes

The major outcomes and achievements of the METEO research group over the past period (2018 – 2021) can be summarized as follows:
Development and operation of novel services and tools related to wildfires: Capitalizing on the results of the Interreg-funden DISARM research project, the METEO research group developed several innovative tools and services to support preparedness and increase awareness for wildfires. These include:

  • The IRIS 2.0 rapid response fire spread forecasting system that can provide on-demand fire spread predictions faster than in real-time. The system has been used by the Hellenic Fire Corps on 17, 31, and 3 wildfire incidents in 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively.
  • Daily, high-resolution forecasts of fire danger based on advanced fire weather indices that have been properly adapted to the pyric environment of Greece.
  • 24/7/365 monitoring of fire weather and fuel conditions (via the estimation of the moisture content of fine dead fuels; a reliable proxy for assessing landscape flammability) through the exploitation of surface weather data provided by the dense network of automatic weather stations that the group operates in Greece since 2007.

Development and operation of the first-of-its-kind in Greece early warning system for severe weather: In Autumn 2019, the METEO research group launched the development of a prototype early warning system for severe weather to support the Municipality of Kilkis in northern Greece. The system exploits surface weather and hydrological data together with high-resolution numerical weather prediction to provide early warnings on imminent severe hydrometeorological events, thus supporting civil protection at the regional authority level. The system will be replicated for the municipalities of Nevrokopi in northeastern Greece and Rethymnon in Crete.

Participation in International Infrastructures: All stations of the national network of automated surface meteorological stations (NOAAN) operated by the METEO unit at IERSD have been included since 2020 (in the Observing Systems Capability Analysis and Review Tool (OSCAR) of the WMO OSCAR is a resource developed by WMO in support of Earth Observation applications, studies, and global coordination.

Storm naming in Greece: The METEO Unit at NOA started storm naming in January 2017 and has named 35 storms up to September 2021. The good practice of storm naming in Greece has been recently embraced as an initiative by the National Meteorological Services of Greece, Cyprus and Israel who have decided to name storms that may produce impacts in at least one of the three countries. This decision has been finalized and has been in operation since October 2021.

Innovative research on high impact weather events and their socio-economic effects: The systematic record of all severe weather events and of their effects over the last 2 decades, including small-scale ones, significantly contributes to the study of the vulnerability/resilience of individual parts of the country, the effectiveness of implemented policies and measures, while generating important data freely available to the general public and the scientific community. In addition, surveys aiming to examine individual risk perception, awareness, and preparedness against weather-related natural hazards in a multi-hazard area have been systematically posted with a very strong public response. These studies enhance our understanding of the communities’ resilience and allow us to identify possible shortcomings in knowledge or awareness of the public.