Skip to main content

Advanced Prediction in Polar regions and beyond: Modelling, observing system design and LInkages associated with ArctiC ClimATE change

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - APPLICATE (Advanced Prediction in Polar regions and beyond: Modelling, observing system design and LInkages associated with ArctiC ClimATE change)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-04-30

The weather and climate of the Arctic have been changing rapidly in recent years, with profound transformations projected to continue. These changes provide opportunities, such as new, shorter shipping lanes between Europe and East Asia; at the same time, however they expose society to major risks, such as environmental hazards associated with increased human activities in the Arctic. Climate change also poses major challenges for indigenous communities who are facing changes in predictive weather capacity based on traditional knowledge (non-stationary climate). Furthermore, anthropogenic climate change is amplified in the Arctic with a possible impact on the weather and climate in mid-latitudes, including potential changes in frequency and intensity of extreme events in Europe.
APPLICATE aimed at developing enhanced predictive capacity for weather and climate in the Arctic and beyond, and to determine the influence of Arctic climate change on Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, for the benefit of policymakers, businesses and society all alike.
APPLICATE has responded to the needs of the majority of stakeholders for enhanced predictive capacity from weather to climate time scales. APPLICATE has brought together experts from academia, research institutions and operational forecasting centres. A wide range of stakeholders and users were included in the project through the User Group, and other project outreach activities and regularly consulted to effectively exchange knowledge on the latest science and user needs.
By its end in April 2021, APPLICATE has helped to improve stakeholders’ capacity to adapt to climate change through a comprehensive analysis of the latest generation of climate models, which has informed the latest IPCC assessment report AR6. APPLICATE has improved the trustworthiness of climate change projections through an improved representation of important Arctic processes in next generation climate models. Furthermore, APPLICATE has contributed to narrowing the uncertainty of climate change projections by exploiting the concept of emergent constraints, leading to a greater adaptation capacity.
APPLICATE was instrumental in developing and promoting international collaborations like the polar amplification model intercomparison projects (PAMIP), while advancing innovative approaches and datasets using numerical weather prediction and climate models. The project’s many contributions include the coordination of model intercomparison experiments (e.g. PAMIP, SIMIP) provision of novel datasets (e.g. YOPP and ECMWF datasets), the development of evaluation software with a clear polar focus (e.g. ESMvalTool), all highlighting the high profile of APPLICATE’s work and representing a stepping stone in improving knowledge about climate change in support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Many efforts carried out in APPLICATE have led to influential papers demonstrating not only the high quality of APPLICATE’s scientific endeavors but also the dedication of the people involved in the project in disseminating results through a clear and open approach.

Over 4 years of research, participating in several networking events and exchanges with partners and projects around the world brought a new, young and vibrant community of Arctic researchers together. From the annual participation to international forums to the organization of workshops dedicated to the exchange between science and policy, APPLICATE brought its contributions into dialogue platforms with the intent to raise awareness on the topics of its research and create a wide network of collaborators and contact points.
In an effort to engage with stakeholders in the region and make them aware of crucial knowledge when it comes to decision-making in the Arctic, the User Engagement team of APPLICATE has developed new strategies and successful formats to disseminate scientific know-how and establish a relation for co-production of knowledge between climate scientists, users, policymakers and industry executives. The development of a set of resources like Case Studies and Policy Brief represents one of the most relevant pieces of APPLICATE’s legacy.
Among the core activities of the APPLICATE project was also the involvement of a new generation of scientists, which concretized in the organization of training activities for Early Career Researchers like the Polar Prediction School in 2018 and the production of webinar series.
Progress has been made beyond the state of the art at the beginning of the project, including:

● APPLICATE has provided some of the first papers evaluating linkages between changes in the Arctic and mid-latitude circulation in CMIP6 models (WP1).
● Activity in APPLICATE has developed a state-of-the-art multi-layer snow scheme for the ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) that has been tested, and evaluated, over land and sea ice surfaces. Model development activities within APPLICATE have extended several CMIP6 generation climate models beyond the current state-of-the-art – both in terms of physical parameterisations and coupling methodology (WP2).
● The coordinated PAMIP experiments proposed and analysed in APPLICATE have enabled the physical mechanism to be understood and provide robust evidence of atmospheric linkages (WP3).
● APPLICATE has improved abilities to diagnose model errors more accurately in several aspects (e.g. for surface diagnostics and solid precipitation) (WP5).

Achieved results at the end of the project include:

● APPLICATE contributed to the assessment of weather and climate models (including CMIP6) in the Arctic. This along with the availability of new freely available software resulted in critical recommendations for future model development efforts leading to better forecasts and projections (WP1).
● APPLICATE contributed to providing a novel dataset for assessing the impact of Arctic climate change on the rest of the Northern Hemisphere (PAMIP) and provided a consolidated view of the underlying mechanisms and sources of uncertainty (WP3).
● APPLICATE provided detailed recommendations for an optimized Arctic observing system taking into account different needs such as forecasting, monitoring and (WP2, WP4 and WP5).

The work carried out within APPLICATE will have several impacts even beyond the project’s lifetime:

● The multi-layer snow scheme developed in WP2 is a candidate for implementation within the IFS with the potential to benefit operational ECMWF forecasts and reanalysis products alike (WP3).
● Activities in APPLICATE have been instrumental to get the NWP and climate prediction communities closer together, and to further demonstrate the need for parallel investment in observation and coupled prediction systems (WP4).
● All prototype NWP systems in APPLICATE, each one testing a different development, have shown important improvements in the prediction of 2m temperatures. These demonstrated improvements will strengthen the overall predictive capacity of Arctic European operational NWPs (WP5).
● The results of the survey conducted with User Group members show that the project had a positive impact on the users’ understanding of the latest scientific research in the Arctic (WP7).
Case studies
Project logo
Project Mission