Published 08.04.2022

Unique weather and climate database to help prepare for dangerous weather phenomena

A development project of the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the National Emergency Supply Agency has collected weather and climate impact data from past decades which will be used to develop more accurate impact forecasts. Products developed with the help of a rare comprehensive database help actors that are of critical importance for security and emergency supply to better prepare for hazardous weather situations.

The pilot phase of SILVA, a joint development project of the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the National Emergency Supply Agency, was launched at the beginning of April. In the project, information on damage caused by the weather and climate going back as far as 20 years has been compiled in a comprehensive database. The historical information on weather and its effects has helped in the development of new kinds of products through methods of machine learning, for example, revealing harmful and dangerous effects of weather phenomena forecast for the days that follow.

“The database contains weather-related events affecting sectors such as energy, transport, and insurance. Many of the records on events cover many years, and are national in scope, so the data that has been collected is rare in its coverage even by global comparison”, says the head of the project, Ari-Juhani Punkka of the Finnish Meteorolotgical Institute.

The products used in predicting impact help those involved in activities that are critical for security and emergency supply to prepare for dangerous weather situations at the right time and to use correctly proportioned resources. It is hoped that the new products will make it possible to anticipate the number of emergency calls related to situations such as wildfires or wind a few days before the harmful weather conditions begin. The impact forecasts are presented as time series, or map images in which the significance of the effects is indicated by a green to red colour scale.

“In the project we are testing and applying a completely new approach to preparing and developing security of supply. Information from the memories of specific individuals and entities becomes shared digital data. A method based on modern artificial intelligence can produce new kinds of information and services and improve the continuity of critical activities in society”, says Emergency Preparedness Manager Tapio Tourula of the National Emergency Supply Agency.

The project of the Finnish Meteorological Institute is carried out as part of the Logistics 2030 programme of the National Emergency Supply Agency, which is headed by Tourula.

New products tested by 40 organisations in the fields of emergency service, energy, and transport

New products developed in the SILVA project are being piloted in the period between the spring and autumn of this year under real weather situations. The testing of the pilot products involves about 40 organisations in emergency services, energy, and various forms of transport.

“Our present aim is to collect feedback from the use and development of the new products as extensively as possible. In addition, in the pilot stage there are plans to hold briefings on how to use the new products when significant weather situations are about to occur, so there will be repeated interaction with the testers”, Punkka explains.

There will also be efforts to use an open data interface to make historical impact data available to anyone who wishes to use it.