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European Climate Prediction system

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EUCP (European Climate Prediction system)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2020-12-01 do 2022-05-31

The IPCC 6th assessment highlighted the sizeable and impactful changes that have been observed in the global climate over recent decades. Predictions and projections of future weather and climate are an essential ingredient to making informed decisions on how society can respond to the global climate change challenge. EUCP set out with a very ambitious goal, to improve predictions and projections of future climate on time-scales out to 40+ years, with a focus on Europe, but applicability globally.

EUCP aimed to produce methods and data that would provide a robust foundation on which other climate service activities and investments can be built (objectives 1, 2 and 3). The project set out to ensure the methods being developed are available to others world-wide including through peer-reviewed publications, and can be used in other climate prediction systems (objective 4).

The EUCP project aimed to improve methods to characterise uncertainty in climate predictions and projections, regional downscaling, making use of evaluation against observations (objective 1). It was required that the climate prediction system of EUCP should produce consistent, authoritative and actionable climate information (objective 2) and an important part of the project involves demonstrating the value of this system through user relevant climate change examples, with a focus on high impact extreme weather events in the near past, present, and near future (1-40+ years). This task must draw on convection permitting regional climate models and translate the outputs into risk or impact information (objective 3).

An aim for EUCP has been to demonstrate value and benefit to decision makers, and its outputs are intended to support national climate service developments in all European countries. This includes for Government policy-makers, decision-makers in commercial organizations, and providers of climate services including National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and SMEs.
EUCP has made significant progress towards developing new methodologies that will significantly improve climate prediction and projection out to 40+ years. It has established these methods in the peer reviewed scientific literature and demonstrated the potential value through pilot studies focused on real-world climate issues.

EUCP has facilitated improved approaches towards decadal forecasts, including pioneering methods to extract more of the predictive skill in these forecasts. It also played an important role in establishing the WMO lead centre for decadal forecast exchange, which is a major milestone on decadal forecasting transitioning from the purely research domain into operational delivery for decision making. It enables the construction of multi-model decadal forecasts. EUCP has also made major contributions for climate projection science on time-scales beyond a decade ahead, providing the first major study to intercompare methods to constrain or filter ensembles of projections over the European region. Without the new knowledge it was not clear how different approaches affected the projection spread adding an extra level of uncertainty for users.

EUCP provided the first multi-model demonstration of the added value from using weather forecast model spatial resolution over a common domain for convective permitting climate model simulations. It also provided decision relevant forecast data for use across Europe. By aligning with and feeding the results into the EuroCORDEX flagship experiment EUCP has provided a legacy of data that enables the use of sub-daily information and improved simulation of climate extremes.

EUCP has made significant progress in developing methods that allow joining or stitching together of the near future predictions (to 5-years or so) and longer-term projections. It has also produced new knowledge on merging spatial information from different scales, with several demonstrations of applicability. Impact relevant applications that showcase how the improved climate information might be used, for instance to understand flooding, water availability or energy supply.

An “add-on” to the original project specification was a study of applying the latest climate prediction/projection approaches to the outermost regions – beyond continental Europe. As an example, this work showcased how high resolution convective permitting modelling can be used to look at climate change on island locations, including using pseudo global warming experiments.

The impacts of COVID-19 and accompanying restrictions have slowed progress in some aspects of EUCP, but we have also treated the societal changes as an opportunity and have developed approaches to collaborative climate science working.
Whilst many studies produce climate predictions or projections, EUCP has gone beyond the state-of-the-art in extracting more information from those projections and filling gaps where current projections do not yet exist. In particular, many new methods have been developed and published enabling better understanding of the skill in predictions, the constraining of projections and merging of near-term initialised prediction simulations with long-term climate projections. New datasets have been produced and have already been used, for instance in the IPCC assessment and WMO decadal forecast exchange. Case studies relevant to users have been developed and showcased.

This new learning in EUCP is the foundation of providing an authoritative foundation of climate information to assess the impact of climate change (top-level objectives 1 and 2). It is supporting the building of a climate resilient economy and strengthening civil protection (objectives 2, 3, 4). It provides a foundation for increasing the credibility and usability of climate predictions, and the identification and characterisation of trends in regional climate extremes (objectives 1, 2, 3, 4). EUCP has made an important contribution towards enabling the EU to Implement the Sustainable Development goal SDG 13 “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”, as well as conclusions of the COP21 Paris Agreement (linked to top-level objectives 2, 3, 4).

Alongside the scientific advances, EUCP developed and tested a range of communication approaches relevant to both scientific and practitioner audiences based around storyboards, which provide a record of EUCP’s legacy and which might also be deployed in future projects. Multiple written and oral briefings have been produced for policy makers and practitioners by the project. The progress beyond state-of-the-art was highlighted by the inclusion of EUCP findings in the recently published IPCC 6th assessment (AR6), which laid a scientific basis for negotiations at the COP26 UN climate conference in November 2021.
EUCP well represented at November 2020 EC Climate Science2Policy Workshop