1 January 2018

Changes in the Board of the Harry Otten Foundation

Per 1 January 2018 three members retired from the Board of the Harry Otten Foundation: Richard Anthes, Dominique Marbouty and Dennis Schulze. The Board has a strict rotation schedule and their membership could not be extended. So new Board members had to be selected. On 1 January 2017 David Burridge joined the Board (see News article of 7 November 2016) and on 1 January 2018 Pamela Emch (top photo) and Olivier Boucher (bottom photo) joined the Board as well. Leo Kroon succeeded Richard Anthes as Chairman and David Burridge will be the new Treasurer. The three members leaving the Board were three of the "founding fathers": they were on the Board since the very beginning of the Foundation. They will be sorely missed because they were inspiring and experienced members and a great deal of knowledge, gathered during their six years' membership, has now left the Board.

5 September 2017

Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology awarded in Dublin


Lee Chapman, Professor at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK receives 25’000 Euro for his idea of using low-cost sensors and the Internet of Things to advance weather forecasts.

The Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology has been awarded for the third time. During the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society in Dublin, Ireland, the jury announced that Lee Chapman has won the first prize of 25’000 Euro. His idea, High-Resolution Monitoring of Weather Impacts on Infrastructure Networks, is to use the “internet of things” and low-cost sensors to monitor the weather on a very dense network to improve short-range forecasting. Chapman provided one example where low-cost sensors connected to the internet could provide real-time information on the condition of roadways in winter to inform efficient applications of salt on road surfaces and at the same time avoiding wasteful oversalting of roads that are above freezing. In a second example, he showed how other sensors could detect leaf wetness on railways, which often cause train braking problems in autumn.The winner of the prize was selected from three finalists. The other two finalists received 2’500 Euros for their ideas.

Tom de Ruijter, a computer scientist at Big Data Republic in the Netherlands, presented an innovative idea Making use of errors in consumer weather data to derive advanced weather parameters. De Ruijter proposed to use errors in ground surface measurements to derive information about meteorological conditions such as nighttime cloud cover and snow vs. rain conditions.

Gert-Jan Steeneveld and Sytse Koopmans, Wageningen University in the Netherlands discussed their idea CrowDat@ssimilation: Assimilation of crowdsourced meteorological data in NWP models to improve small-scale weather forecasts. The basis of this idea is to use crowd-sourced data in high-resolution numerical weather forecast models to improve short-range forecasts.

Overall the jury received 12 applications for the prize from different European countries and the USA. The Harry Otten Prize is awarded every two years.

Richard Anthes, Chairman of the Board of the Harry Otten Foundation, commented: “Lee Chapman’s idea of using many low-cost sensors, all connected to the internet to deliver immediate observations of weather and weather impacts such as road conditions, has the potential to substantially increase our ability to know when and where hazardous conditions exist and increase users’ confidence in using these forecasts in critical weather situations.”

Harry Otten was pleased at the announcement of the 2017 winner of the Prize: “After a number of years of retirement, I have started Wettermanufaktur as a new weather business in Berlin. The first customers for the company are the authorities responsible for sanding and salting the roads. The idea of Lee Chapman to use low-cost sensors to measure the road conditions could be very valuable in providing better services to our customers.”

Harry Otten and the finalists at the EMS 2017 in Dublin. From left to right: Sytse Koopmans, Gert-Jan Steeneveld, Harry Otten, Lee Chapman and Tom de Ruijter.

29 July 2017

Finalists for Harry Otten Prize 2017 to give presentations at EMS meeting in Dublin


The Board of the Harry Otten Foundation has selected three finalists for the Harry Otten Prize for 2017. They are Professor Lee Chapman (School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK), Tom de Ruijter (Meteogroup, Wageningen, Netherlands), and Gert-Jan Steeneveld and Sytse Koopmans (Wageningen University).

The three finalists will present talks about their ideas at the 2017 meeting of the European Meteorological Society (EMS), to be held 4-8 September 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (https://www.ems2017.eu/ ). The talks will be in PSE3 (Plenary Sessions and Special Events-3) from 14:00 to 15:30 on Monday September 4 in the Gallery.

After the presentations the Board will meet to select the first-place winner of the prize and possible second and third prize winners. The winner(s) will be announced and awarded their prizes during the EMS Awards session (PSE4) on Tuesday, 5 September from 18:15 to 19:30 in the Theatre.

The titles and abstracts for the three talks are presented below:


High-Resolution Monitoring of Weather Impacts on Infrastructure Networks

Lee Chapman

The impacts of weather and climate on infrastructure are numerous. From a business perspective, the largest opportunities exist in the prediction of smaller impacts where preventative action can be taken by operators/end-users to reduce the severity of the weather event, for example, winter road maintenance, railway buckling, leaves-on-the-line, wind impacts on power cabling etc. Advances in modelling mean that these impacts can now be predicted at a high resolution (e.g. route based forecasting for winter road maintenance) so that mitigation activities can be actioned at vulnerable sections of the infrastructure network.

However, whilst high-resolution models have been in operational use for the last decade, in an environment of increasing litigation, practitioners remain nervous about making decisions solely based on model output. This means that the verification of forecasts is now needed on a scale previously not required, and it is only with this step that end-users will be responsive to using methods which will save money without compromising safety on the network (e.g. selective salting for winter road maintenance where only the coldest sections of road are treated or localised rail speed restrictions in hot weather as opposed to the blanket restrictions currently used).

Hence, there is a clear and pressing need for high-resolution infrastructure monitoring, but existing techniques are simply not capable of producing this solution. Point measurements using traditional sensors are too expensive to install in the numbers required and therefore lack the spatial resolution. Mobile measurements provide an alternative, but these lack the temporal resolution to provide the full picture. Therefore, it is proposed that the emerging Internet of Things could be transformative in this sector, providing the enabling technology to saturate our infrastructure networks with low-cost sensors. In doing so, it will not only provide unprecedented monitoring of weather impacts on infrastructure networks, but would also open the door to a new generation of nowcasting products harnessing the benefits of high resolution observations. These two developments combined will enabling the targeting of costly mitigation efforts more effectively than ever before. 



Making use of errors in consumer weather data to derive advanced weather parameters

Tom de Ruijter

Consumer weather stations are widely present in the current age of technology, with currently over 200 thousand online stations online world-wide. These stations and their data do not come without problems as they are not maintained and checked by professional meteorologists. While error filtering is possible, we could also use the information within these structural errors.

This work highlights two out of many possible uses for such structural measurement errors. First, it is possible to derive night-time effective cloud cover maps based on cooling behavior. Second, it is possible to derive the wet-solid precipitation type distinction based on errors in community precipitation measurements.

The night-time cloud cover prediction is mainly based on the effect that most consumer stations are not placed in ventilated Stevenson screens and are more sensitive to changes in long wave radiation, caused by for example clear spells. We derive a machine learning model to nowcast effective cloud cover.

The wet-solid precipitation type is based on the 'shortcoming' that consumer precipitation measurement cups freeze over and fill up when exposed to solid precipitation. When combined with radar or satellite images, the precipitation type can accurately be deduced.

In the presentation, we provide a detailed explanation as well as several use cases and initial verification results.


CrowDat@ssimilation: Assimilation of crowdsourced meteorological data in NWP models to improve small-scale weather forecasts.

Gert-Jan Steeneveld and Sytse Koopmans

Crowdsourcing in meteorology has become more and more a valuable approach. Hobby meteorologists put forward their collected data on websites as netatmo.com, weathersignal.com, wunderground.com. Moreover air temperatures can be estimated from smartphone battery temperatures. This development helps to understand the weather in data-scarce regions. So far, crowdsourced data has mainly been used for academic research by evaluating them against routine observations, and for model validation. However, here we propose to develop the CrowDat@ssimilation tool to evaluate the value of crowdsourced observations in numerical weather prediction via data-assimilation into initial fields of the NWP model WRF. The highest relevance is expected in small-scale processes, and therefore the CrowDat@ssimilation tool will explore three weather phenomena with strong horizontal gradients: 1) the urban heat island effect, 2) a squall line, and 3) a sea breeze. 



13 November 2016

Who decides which innovative idea will be awarded 25 Thousand Euros?

Do you have a spirit of invention? Do you have fresh, innovative ideas how to improve meteorological services? If yes, you should apply for the Harry Otten Prize! The call for applications is open until 10 March 2017. We expect a tough competition between many excellent innovative ideas, and we thought you might be interested in who will decide the winner. There is a formal selection procedure in place that will be strictly observed in order to ensure maximum transparency and traceability of the selection process.

A selection committee is composed of Otten Foundation's board members, all who all have an excellent reputation in meteorology. The selection process is steered by the chairman of the Foundation, Richard Anthes, who is currently President Emeritus of the University Cooperation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. During his long scientific career, he has held a number of scientific leadership positions. His career includes experience at NOAA, Penn State University and NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research). He has won several prestigious awards, including the AMS Jule Charney Award and the Chinese Friendship Award, the highest award China makes to foreigners. Rick has also been awarded Honorary Membership of the AMS. His experience has provided him with wisdom and knowledge necessary to chair the selection committee.

Of course, he is not alone in this endeavour; other experienced board members assist him. First to mention is the vice chairman of the foundation, Dennis Schulze, who has a leadership position in the private sector at MeteoGroup as Chief Operating Officer. MeteoGroup is a highly successful meteorological services company founded by Harry Otten in 1986. Dennis is also responsible for research and development at MeteoGroup. The private sector is constantly constrained to compete and improve the services; on the free market only innovation and excellence of services ensures a sustainable future. Dennis brings his experience in this valuable culture to our Board.

Another well-known member of the Board and selection committee is Dominique Marbouty. Although during his long professional career he has held several important positions. Most meteorologists know him as former Director-General of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and deputy director general of Météo-France, the French national weather service. He is currently active in the audit body of the French ministry of Environment and was a recent President of the European Meteorological Society.

In 2014 Leo Kroon from the Netherlands joined the board and thus also the selection committee. Leo is Lecturer in Meteorology at Wageningen University. He has been active in the Dutch Meteorological Society and was Chief Editor of their journal Meteorologica. Besides scientific knowledge he is adding to the board a valuable perspective from the education sphere.

The communication aspects of proposals are taken care of by Tanja Cegnar, char of the EMS Media and communication team n member of the WMO CCI management group responsible for capacity building. Tanja works at the Slovenian Environment Agency and is a weather broadcaster at the national television in Slovenia. She was recently awarded the first EMS Outstanding Contribution Award at the EMS annual meeting in 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She was honored "for her relentless pursuit of the Media and Communication activities of he Society".

The final member of the selection committee is David Burridge, former Director-General of the ECMWF and the newest member of the Harry Otten Foundation Board. David will officially join the Board on 1 January 2017. Please see the previous News article for more information on David's background and achievements.

Thus, the diverse selection committee from six different countries is fully qualified to make informed decisions through the decision process and to finally select the best innovative idea which will be awarded the 25 thousand Euro prize.

After submission of all applications by 10 March 2017, each member will carefully evaluate all the proposals individually. The main selection criteria are compliance with solid science and innovation, taking into account that proposals already on the way to implementation are not eligible. Also, proposals that are already being implemented will not qualify for the second round. After collection of all the individual votes, a teleconference will be organized and each member will present and justify his or her votes for each proposal. If a doubt or a major difference of opinion arises during the discussion, the selection committee will try to understand why and elaborate on that issue until the members will reach the consensus about the proposals, because only up to 8 proposals will qualify for the second round.

Those who qualify for the second round will be asked to develop further their proposal and answer a list of questions from the selection committee. Based on the extended proposals submitted by 29 may 2017, a second round of evaluation will take place.  Again, each member of the selection committee will carefully evaluate the new information and will prepare a list of scores, which will be discussed during a second teleconference. The selection committee will have a challenging task to select 3 finalists with the best potential to meet the Prize criteria for the winner. The three finalists will be invited to publicly present their proposals during the EMS conference, in September 2017 in Dublin, Ireland, at the European Meteorological Society conference. They will answer additional questions from the selection committee members and from the audience. Based upon the overall proposal and presentations, the selection committee will make a final decision about the winner.

Now you know more about the jury and the selection process, you only need to apply for the award. We are looking forward to receiving your submissions! 




Members of the Harry Otten Foundation at the EMS meeting in Sofia, September 2015. From left to right: Rick Anthes, Dennis Schulze, Andrea Oestreich (Executive Secretary), Tanja Cegnar, Dominique Marbouty and Leo Kroon.

7 November 2016

David Burridge named new Harry Otten Foundation Board Member


Dr. David M. Burridge, former Director General of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, was recently named a member of the Harry Otten Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Burridge has a long record of leadership and achievement across a wide spectrum of work in operational weather forecasting. 

The Directors on the Harry Otten Foundation Board serve three-year terms, which are eligible for renewal one time. Dr. Burridge’s first term begins 1 January 2017.

After his university education and a one-year postdoctoral appointment at the Florida State University, he was employed by the UK Met Office (1970 to 1975) where he worked on the development and assessment of operational forecasting models.

In 1975 he joined the newly established European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).  He spent most of his professional career at ECMWF (1975 to 2004) and in January 1991 he was appointed to the position of Director and Chief Executive of ECMWF.  During his time at ECMWF, he was the Director for more than 13 years, he led the research program for eight years and prior to this he designed and built the first ECMWF global forecasting model.

In 2005 he was employed by the “World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)” (Geneva) to establish, direct and manage the WMO International Programme Office for THORPEX – the main aims of THORPEX were the reduction and mitigation of the effects of natural disasters and the adverse effects of weather, and the realization of societal, economic and environmental benefits of improved weather forecasts.  Prior, to retiring from THORPEX in late 2011, David established the WWRP Polar project and the Sub-seasonal to Seasonal Prediction project.

He has chaired the UK Universities' Global Atmospheric Modelling Programme (UGAMP) Scientific Steering Group, advised both the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA on satellite instruments to observe the earth, advised the European Commission and CERN on high speed computing and chaired international WMO working groups on weather forecasting research.

He has been a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (RMS) since 1970 and served on its Council between 1975 and 1978 and was a Vice-President for 1990 to 1992 and 1999 to 2000.  He was elected President of the RMS for 2000 to 2002.  During his Presidency, he established the societies’ first real long-term strategy, one element of which was the creation of a regular programme of national conferences on the environmental sciences.

David served on the governing Council of the European Meteorological Society (EMS) and was the President of the EMS for the three-year period 2005 to 2008 and during this period revised the society’s organizational structure and implemented a new strategy.

Dr. Burridge has many honors and awards, including Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to meteorology, Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Reading, Honorary Fellowship from the University of Swansea, Silver Medal from the European Meteorological Society, and Honorary fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Currently, David is a full member the UK Met Office Board.



8 September 2015

Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology awarded for the second time - idea to use aircraft condensation trails to make measurements of atmospheric wind and humidity wins 25 thousand Euro

The Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology has been awarded for the second time. During the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society currently taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Board of the Harry Otten Foundation announced that Olivier Boucher has won the prize of 25 thousand Euro for his idea “Probing the Upper Atmosphere by watching aircraft.”  

The idea is to use a simple all-sky camera to observe condensation trails from aircraft, i.e. those long clouds that sometimes form behind flying planes. This detection can be greatly facilitated if you know where to look for them, using an aircraft message receiver that gives the location of all aircraft flying above the receiver.  

The camera measures the width and length of the contrails and their changes over time. These images provide valuable information about humidity and wind that can be used to improve numerical weather model forecasts. Such information, which will be taken mostly in clear air, will complement information from satellite observations of clouds and their motion. 

This proposal was evaluated as scientifically sound, technically feasible and highly innovative. Its potential to improve the quality of global weather forecasts would benefit all users of weather forecasts. 

Olivier is a research director of the French Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique since 2011, after spending 6 years with the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom.  

He has also been working for many years with the IPCC. 

The winner of the prize has been selected out of three finalists. The other two participants in the final round received 2500 Euro for the following ideas: 

Rogiros Tapakis and Alexandros Charalambides (Cyprus University of Technology) for their idea to use a solar measurements from a dense network of photovoltaic cells to help electrical power generation companies manage the balance of sources of power. 

Tim Hewson and Florian Pappenberger (Eureopean Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting) for their idea to predict small scale flash floods using forecast from much larger scale global weather prediction models.


Overall the jury received 13 applications for the prize from different European countries, Israel, and Cuba. The Harry Otten Prize is awarded every two years. More information is available at the website at www.harry-otten-prize.org.

According to Richard Anthes, Chairman of the Board of the Harry Otten Foundation: The finalists for this round of the Harry Otten Prize contributed outstanding examples of innovative ideas that have the potential for applications to benefit society.” 

Harry Otten, founder of the Harry Otten Foundation, said “I am delighted that the prize has been awarded for such an innovative proposal. Using photographs from the condensation trails from aircraft can bring in new and valuable information to improve global weather forecasts, which will benefit all societies in the world.”


Harry Otten and the winner of the Harry Otten Prize 2015, Olivier Boucher
The three finalists together with Harry Otten

10 June 2015

Finalists for the 2015 prize round selected by the jury

The jury has selected the finalists for the 2015 prize round. They will present their idea at the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society (EMS) on 7th of September 2015 in Sofia. There will be a special session for these presentations at 14.00 in room Kyoto. The finalists are:

  • R Tapakis and A G Charalambides: Methodology for predicting solar irradiance (Abstract)
  • O Boucher: Probing the upper troposphere by watching aircraft (Abstract)
  • T Hewson and F Pappenberger: Predicting Flash Floods using Current‐Generation Global Models (Abstract)

After the presentations the jury will make a decision about the prize winner. The prize will be handed over during the awards ceremony of the EMS Meeting on 8 September 2015. 

29 June 2014

Interview with Karolina Stanislawska (winner of the Harry Otten Prize in 2013) by Tanja Cegnar (member of the Harry Otten Foundation Board)

Hello, Karolina, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the Harry Otten Prize web site. To start off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself

Hello Tanja. I am 27 years old and I come from Poland. My professional background is computer science, but I was also studying geosciences for some years in parallel. This was my idea for a career path, to have a good technical background and some insight into another domain that interested me and which could be a good field for potential applications. And luckily I manage to do it that way so far. Since 2009 I have been working at various R&D projects, such as estimation of real-time people movements in the city of Amsterdam based on mobile phone activity, or development of software to enhance point weather forecasts in complex terrain in Iceland. I was also employed as a researcher in the Finnish Meteorological Institute, where one of my most interesting experiences was working on a code for automated measurements at a remote station in Finnish Lapland. Currently I am based in Wroclaw, Poland and I do a remote work for the aforementioned employers in Iceland (where I continue my previous work) and in Finland where I do my own project of implementing bio-inspired computing (genetic programming, which was my specialty within computer science) to modeling some processes in the Arctic. After I won the prize, I got also involved in a short-term project at MeteoGroup to estimate social media answer to certain weather events. 

When and why did you develop the idea of using social media in meteorology? 

The idea appeared several months before I heard about the Harry Otten Prize. In fact it was a combination of all pieces of my professional experience. I was a programmer working at a meteorological institute in Helsinki, but only several months earlier I took part in a research on the role of social media in detecting extraordinary events in the Netherlands. All those areas were very appealing, however they were completely unrelated. As I was at that time thinking a lot about my career path, combining everything that was interesting to me was the “ideal case”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for the further course of events) I didn't find anyone who was doing this type of research. 

What made you decide to apply for the Harry Otten Prize? 

I found the announcement about the prize on my work email. I had not taken part in any competition for many years and around that time some of my friends have been successful in some of their domains. That made me think I should maybe also try, to see how such a competition goes. After seeing the “example ideas” on HOP website, I wasn't really convinced that my idea is something that could go through the first round, but I tried not to think about it and just write down my thoughts. 

What does this prize mean for you? 

Choosing a “unique” career such as I chose sometimes puts you into doubt, making you feel that you don't really fit to any ”standard” workplace. You feel for yourself that what you do is good, but as there are no people who go this way, it is hard to find a job that would really satisfy you. Being granted the prize made me understand that the path I took makes sense and convinced me again that I shouldn't be abandoning it. After all, I prefer the adventure rather than sitting in the same office for 20 years! 

What tips would you give other potential applicants thinking of entering the competition? 

I would like to especially encourage non-meteorologists who see some solution from their field which can be applied to meteorology. This is how we can make the science go forward, by paying more attention to convergence of different domains and seeking solutions where they were never sought before. And besides that, I would like to encourage everyone to stop thinking that their idea isn't good enough. Don't worry if no one from your surroundings sees a point in it. It is probably because it is just something that nobody thought of before! The more ideas we have, the more interesting the competition becomes and even if your idea isn't the winning one, you get a lot of feedback that might give you more courage to implement your idea in the future. 

If it is not a secret, what have you done with the award? 

It is still with me. I decided to invest it in self development, but I was too busy with regular work last months and I didn't have time to plan anything concrete. 

What are you looking for in terms of career development? Anything else you want to say? 

As always, I am looking for more of interesting projects where I can share my experience and learn new things. After combining social media and meteorology, now it is the time to combine Arctic weather research and bio-inspired computing. Let's see what comes next - I am open to everything new, innovative and never-done-before! 

(Karolina may be contacted by e-mail at karolina.stanislawska@gmail.com)

23 June 2014

Harry Otten Prize at the Meteorological Technology World Expo

During the Meteorological Technology World Expo 21-23 October 2014 in Brussels, information about the Harry Otten Prize can be found in stand 6025 which is next to the meeting point. In this stand flyers and application forms will be available to all participants of the Expo.

The Board of the Harry Otten Prize Foundation would like to thank the organizers of the Expo for this opportunity to bring the Harry Otten Prize to the attention of the broad audience of the Expo.

23 June 2014

Welcome Leo Kroon

We are very pleased to announce that Leo Kroon has begun serving as a new Board member on 1 June 2014. Leo works for Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and is a lecturer in meteorology of the Meteorology and Air Quality department. He recently finished his service as editor-in-chief of "Meteorologica", the quarterly journal of the Dutch meteorological society NVBM (Nederlandse Vereniging voor de Bevordering van de Meteorologie), after holding this position for more than 10 years. Before that he was president of the NVBM for a period of three years.

Leo brings a broad experience with the university and forecasting communities. Leo brings financial and administrative expertise to the Board as well as extensive experience in education.


11 February 2014 Passing of Hans Reiff

The Board of the Harry Otten Foundation regrets to announce that our Chairman, Hans Reiff, passed away on 28 January, 2014 after a sudden illness.  Hans was a remarkable man and leader of the Harry Otten Foundation since its beginning in 2011.  We will miss his leadership and kind and friendly personality, and extend our very best wishes to his family and colleagues.

1 January 2014

Farewell Jill, Welcome Tanja

Due to personal circumstances, one of our founding Board Member Jill Peeters resigned from the Harry Otten Foundation Board of Directors on 31 December, 2013. Jill was a valuable link between the Board and the public broadcasting community. She was always full of enthusiasm and stimulated the Board with new ideas. As a jury member for the Harry Otten Prize, she often provided valuable and unique perspectives on the proposals being considered for the prize. The Board wishes her continued success in her career at VTM, the Flemish Commercial Television Station where she works.

We are extremely pleased to announce the new Board member, Tanja Cegnar, who will begin serving on 1 January 2014. Tanja works for the Slovenian Environment Agency, which incorporates also the Slovenian Meteorological Office. She presents the weather at the national television station in Slovenia. For many years she has coordinated the activities of the media team of the European Meteorological Society. She brings wide experience with the environmental and weather forecasting and broadcasting communities, and she will help the Board with the publicity that needs to be generated for the prize.

11 September 2013

Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology awarded for the first time

Idea to use “Social media for meteorological prediction and information” receives 25,000 Euro

The Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology has been awarded for the first time during the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society currently taking place in Reading (UK). Harry Otten announced that the jury has decided that Karolina Stanisławska with her idea “Social media for meteorological prediction and information” has won the prize which is endowed with 25,000 Euro.

The idea “Social media for meteorological prediction and information” proposed by Karolina Stanisławska is about constructing a meteorological system based on the information extracted exclusively from social media content. The system would be a service providing crowdsourced information about actual weather conditions, identification of hazardous weather events and reaction of people to weather information.

Karolina was born in Poland and graduated in computer science at the Poznań University of Technology in 2011. She is currently working as a researcher in climate modelling and greenhouse gases topics for the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and as a programmer for improving point forecasts for Institute of Meteorological Research (IMR) in Iceland.

The winner of the prize has been selected out of three finalists. The other two finalists received 2,500 Euro for the following ideas:

The “Global Weather Alliance - the WeatherShare service - wxshare.org” presented by Karl H. Eggestad is a free and open video and audio clip and image material service specifically targeted for the worldwide weather broadcasting community.

“Forecasting and Mapping Ice Thickness for Ice Skating on Natural Lakes and Canals” presented by Gert-Jan Steeneveld, Bert Heusinkveld and Kevin Damman aims at improving the quantitative forecasting of ice growth and communicating this in a fast way to the general public.

Overall the jury has received 19 applications for the prize mainly from different European countries and the USA. The Harry Otten Prize is awarded every two years. More information including the full abstracts of the finalists is available on this website.

Hans Reiff, Chairman of the jury: “Karolina’s idea is highly innovative with significant potential benefits to society.  These benefits include both use of people to provide weather data and information to meteorologists through the social media as well as information on how society reacts to weather information and forecasts from meteorologists.“

Harry Otten, Founder of the Harry Otten Foundation: “I am delighted that the Prize has been awarded to such an innovative proposal. I hope that the Prize helps to put her idea into practice.“

Pictures from the EMS Annual Meeting 2013 - Awards Ceremony

Harry Otten and the winner of the Harry Otten Prize 2013, Karolina Stanislawska
Harry Otten introducing the ideas of the three finalists
The three finalists, Karolina Stanislawska, Karl Eggestad and Gert-Jan Steeneveld together with Harry Otten

11 June 2013

The jury has selected the finalists for the 2013 prize round. They will present their idea at the Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society (EMS) on 10th of September 2013 in Reading. There will be a special session for these presentations at 16.30 in room 102. The finalists are:

  • KH Eggestad: Global Weather Alliance - the WeatherShare service - wxshare.org (Abstract)
  • K Stanisławska: Social media for meteorological prediction and information (Abstract)
  • GJ Steeneveld, B Heusinkveld, and K Damman: Forecasting and Mapping Ice Thickness for Ice Skating on Natural Lakes and Canals (Abstract)

After the presentations the jury will make a decision about the prize winner. The prize will be handed over during the awards ceremony of the EMS Meeting on 11 September 2013. 


10 March 2013

The submission deadline to send applications for the 2013 Harry Otten Prize has passed on March 15th 2013. The jury thanks all participants and is now evaluating the proposals. For more information about the further steps please consult the timeline.

15 October 2012

Applications to win the price can now be sent through this website. The application form will be available until 10 March 2013.

12 September 2012

At the EMS Annual Meeting in Lodz it was announced that the jury decided to have no prize winner this round. However, there were two honorable mentions and a presentation on what the jury understands as innovative ideas.

Pictures from the EMS Annual Meeting 2012 - Awards Ceremony

Chairman Hans Reiff introducing the Harry Otten Prize
Harry Otten presenting the Honorary Mentions
Vice Chairman Richard Anthes talking about innovation and guidance for applications.

15 January 2012

The submission deadline to file applications for the Harry Otten Prize has passed on January 15th 2012. Within four months 12 applications were received. The jury thanks all participants and is now evaluating the proposals.

15 September 2011

Applications to win the price can now be sent through this website. The application form will be available until 15 January 2012.

12 September 2011

The Harry Otten Prize is introduced within the Opening Ceremony of the ECAM / EMS 2011 conference in Berlin by Hans Reiff, chairman of the board of the Harry Otten Foundation. You can see the introduction in a video stream, starting at 1:30.

19 June 2011

The final rules of contest and guidance of which ideas could won the prize have been published on the website. Applications are possible from September 2011 onwards.

13 May 2011

During the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Meteo Consult and the retirement of Harry Otten the Foundation and the Harry Otten Prize were announced.

12 May 2011

The board of the Harry Otten Foundation has met in Wageningen, The Netherlands for its first meeting. Many decisions have been made about the detailed rules of partipication.