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High-Resolution Climate Modelling @ NCAS-Climate and UK Met Office Hadley Centre

Weather resolving models are increasingly able to simulate the building blocks of climate. The National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)-Climate and the UK Met Office Hadley Centre have been at the leading edge of this transformation.


Climate models are useful tools for analysing observations in a consistent physical framework. Analysis and prediction from past observations helps in interpreting the observed historical changes in the climate system and develop confidence in projections of future change. An open research question remains, however, regarding the ability of the current generation of climate models to provide societies with accurate and reliable predictions of regional climate change, including the statistics of extreme events and high impact weather, which are required for global and local adaptation strategies.


NUGAM high-resolution (60 km) model output snapshot

The Weather and Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Modelling Panel (WMP) recently concluded that “regional projections from the current generation of climate models were sufficiently uncertain to compromise the goal of providing society with reliable predictions of regional climate change. Therefore, a major recommendation by the group was that, to meet the expectations of society, it is both necessary and possible to revolutionise climate prediction. It is necessary because adaptation strategies require more accurate and reliable predictions of regional weather and climate extreme events than are possible with the current generation of climate models. It is possible firstly because of major advances in scientific understanding, secondly because of the development of seamless prediction systems which unify weather and climate prediction, thus bringing the insights and constraints of weather prediction into the climate change arena, and thirdly because of the ever-expanding power of computers.”


Two NCAS-Climate flagship high-resolution climate modelling projects, HiGEM and UJCC, in collaboration with the UK Met Office, have been among the first to demonstrate the importance of these needs and opportunities, placing the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in a strong position to be at the cutting edge of climate modelling and to ensure that the UK maintains its leading position in climate prediction.



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