Training and Operational Principles Course Package

Seasonal Forecast Course Package T.O.P.” is a set of online resources whose goal is to enhance knowledge in the theory of seasonal forecasting and operational use of seasonal climate forecasts.

This online training package has been developed by the WMO Regional Training Center (RTC) Italy, Institute of Biometeorology, CNR-National Research Council Rome, Italy (CNR-Ibimet). T.O.P. is joint initiative World Meteorological Organization and CNR-Ibimet, with the collaboration of MeteoSwiss.


Learning and teaching about seasonal climate  forecasts: a Mediterranean educational experience toward operational climate services Author(s): Vieri Tarchiani et al.
Special Issue: 17th EMS Annual Meeting: European Conference for Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2017

About T.O.P.

Seasonal Forecast Course Package T.O.P. is based on the training materials produced during a series of face-to-face-to-face courses from 2014-17.  

These training materials, created by acknowledged researchers and scholars for RTC Italy training initiatives,  have been reorganised in a new concept structure, partially re-edited, and enriched with videos and other documentations.

This set of resources can  be used by other trainers to develop their own courses,  facilitating knowledge sharing and dissemination.

the Course Package

The goal of the online course is to allow seasonal climate forecast knowledge transfer to increase operational capabilities of the targeted users.
This online course will provide participants with a theoric and practical set of knowledge on seasonal forecast and predictability models, climate and data analysis, forecast verification, and specific application of seasonal forecast for agriculture and water management.
The course package will include model outline with learning objectives, case studies, in-depth studies, quizzes, structured bibliography, readings.
The aim is also to provide some essential guidelines to facilitate the course adoption by a wide number of institutions and instructors that will have the possibility to provide additional content – e.g. to better meet students needs -, and modify content to fulfil their region and national or institutional education standards. 

TOP Guides

The course package includes a guide on content and geographical adaptation.

the Course Structure

The project team defined the course modules structure that could respond to user learning needs on the basis of previous training experiences.

Then training materials from previous courses have been selected and analysed to define the best set of resources to fit the learning purpose of each module.

The course consist of lectures, exercises, and tutorials.Recent trends in eLearning highlight the effectiveness of approaches such as videos and interactive videos, micro-learning and learning paths. In this perspective, different content types/formats  have been used to create an engaging learning experience. The T.O.P. course package includes: slide presentations, with audio or annotated comments, videos, documents, and live recorded sessions. 

The Course Package is organized in modules and each module contains a group of lessons focusing a specific topic.

Audience Learners

The course package has two audiences.
It can be used by national hydro-meteorological service staff members who wish to improve their climate services competencies or to specialise in seasonal forecasting. For this audience, the course package will provide theoretical and practical knowledge on seasonal forecast and predictability models, climate and data analysis, forecast verification, and specific application of seasonal forecast for agriculture and water management. 

In order to meet heterogeneous needs of the learners, each course unit will illustrate the prerequisites and will propose external resources to fill knowledge gaps.

This approach will provide learners with a personalised learning path based on their interaction with learning components, following the idea that it is more effective to take into account different levels and needs rather than “one size fits all”.  


This course is designed for forecasters and climatologists with knowledge on general meteorology as well as physical and dynamic meteorology.  Accordingly, familiarity with the following concepts is assumed. However, some of this content will be covered briefly in the context of offering more specific expertise in climate predictions.

Required skills and knowledge

Climate Services Competency Framework

According to the Climate Services Competency Framework approved by the WMO Executive Council of June 2016, the training course addresses the Competency 3: Create and/or interpret climate forecasts, climate projections and model output, and more specifically the following Performance Criteria.

Course Goals

After completing the course, learners should be able to:

How to access the T.O.P. Course Package

The course package is structured as an eLearning Course.
Please login/register to create a personal account and set up a personal profile to track your training activities. To take a module, and download the materials, you'll need to enroll.

The Modules