IMproving PRedictions and management of hydrological EXtremes (IMPREX) was a European Union Horizon 2020 project that ran from September 2015 to September 2019. IMPREX aimed to improve society's ability to anticipate and respond to future extreme hydrological events in Europe across a variety of uses in the water-related sectors (flood forecasting, drought risk assessment, agriculture, navigation, hydropower and water supply utilities). Through the engagement with stakeholders and continuous feedback between model outputs and water applications, progress was achieved in better understanding the way hydrological predictions can be useful to (and operationally incorporated into) problem-solving in the water sector. The work and discussions carried out during the project nurtured further reflections toward a common vision for hydrological prediction. In this article, we summarized the main findings of the IMPREX project within a broader overview of hydrological prediction, providing a vision for improving such predictions. In so doing, we first presented a synopsis of hydrological and weather forecasting, with a focus on medium-range to seasonal scales of prediction for increased preparedness. Second, the lessons learned from IMPREX were discussed. The key findings were the gaps highlighted in the global observing system of the hydrological cycle, the degree of accuracy of hydrological models and the techniques of post-processing to correct biases, the origin of seasonal hydrological skill in Europe and user requirements of hydrometeorological forecasts to ensure their appropriate use in decision-making models and practices. Last, a vision for how to improve these forecast systems/products in the future was expounded, including advancing numerical weather and hydrological models, improved earth monitoring and more frequent interaction between forecasters and users to tailor the forecasts to applications. We conclude that if these improvements can be implemented in the coming years, earth system and hydrological modelling will become more skillful, thus leading to socioeconomic benefits for the citizens of Europe and beyond.
- Extreme hydrometeorological events
- Global earth observations
- Hydrological modelling
- NumericalWeather prediction