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PRocess-based climate sIMulation: AdVances in high resolution modelling and European climate Risk Assessment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PRIMAVERA (PRocess-based climate sIMulation: AdVances in high resolution modelling and European climate Risk Assessment)

Reporting period: 2015-11-01 to 2016-10-31

The goal of PRIMAVERA is to develop a new generation of advanced and well-evaluated high-resolution global climate models, capable of simulating and predicting regional climate with unprecedented fidelity. The project will deliver a fundamental advance in capabilities for assessing future risks linked to climate variability and extremes in Europe out to 2050.
This will be achieved through the use of state-of-the-art global, coupled climate models from seven groups across Europe at sufficiently high resolution to reproduce realistic weather and climate features at around 20km resolution, in addition to the latest developments in process representation. These models will be thoroughly assessed using innovative process-based metrics and the latest observational and reanalysis datasets. The targeted experimental design will reduce inter-model spread and produce robust projections, forming the European contribution to a CMIP6 High-resolution Model Intercomparison project (HIRESMIP), led by PRIMAVERA. These new capabilities will be used to improve understanding of the drivers of variability and change in European climate, including high impact events, since such regional changes continue to be characterised by high uncertainty. PRIMAVERA will also explore the frontiers of climate modelling and high performance computing capability to produce simulations with a reduced reliance on physical parameterisations, by resolving explicitly key processes such as ocean eddies, and by including new stochastic parameterisations to represent sub-grid processes. These simulations will further our understanding of the robustness of climate projections to improved process representation.
Key sector-specific end-users in policy and business will be identified and engaged on a one-to-one basis, with iterative feedback, to ensure that new climate information is tailored and actionable to their needs. The outcome for these end users in Europe will be that for the first time they will have access to decadal projections of climate and weather at high resolution which has been produced to meet their specifications and requirements. This will allow for better planning, improved deployment of resources and strengthen their risk management decisions.
In the first twelve months of the project there has been activity and progress across all areas of research, outreach and engagement, as follows:

- Innovations in modelling and exploring the frontiers of climate modelling
The work on developing metrics for process-based evaluation of projections, developing the model physics, and scoping the thirteen climate system topics for investigation is now well underway and close to being finalised. Scoping and agreeing model configurations with modeling centres in the project consistent for producing outputs for the High Resolution Model Inter-comparison Project (HighResMIP) was also concluded at the end of this period. The bulk of the work for testing model configurations and model stability, and setting up data handling channels and procedures was also carried out. All of this work is for the first set of model runs in the project (which will produce the Stream 1 data).

- Process-based assessment of high-resolution global climate models
Work on developing and agreeing the diagnostics for process-based evaluation of projections, along with examining the added value of high-resolution in components of the physical climate system is now well underway, with eight climate system components of relevance to European weather and climate being agreed.

- Drivers of European climate variability and change
The drivers of variability and change in European climate including their metrics and how they are characterized within the model physics has been examined by researchers and there is convergence on how this will be treated in the first set of climate model runs (which will produce the Stream 1 data).

- Flagship simulations for CMIP6 and IPCC AR6
Publication in an international a journal of a description of the HighResMIP standards and protocols was a significant achievement of the project this period. It was only possible following interaction with relevant scenario providers in the international research community on the additional requirements needed for high resolution modeling, and also by gaining agreement within the CMIP framework. Another key achievement was engaging with other international organizations, such as the international panel on climate variability (CLIVAR) about the potential for exploiting model outputs in a research context.

- Climate risk assessment, user engagement and outreach
A detailed strategy and plan was developed for stakeholder engagement. There was also discussion with other climate researchers and some stakeholders of model diagnostics and variables for use for climate risk assessment. There was a high level of engagement with the climate research community in general through presentations, posters and representation about PRIMAVERA at different scientific meetings and conferences. The project website was populated with information for researchers and the general public to explain the work and potential benefits to research and society.
Progress and results over the first year of the project clearly demonstrate that the expected potential impacts of the project - which will be delivered in two and three years time - are realistic, achievable and of potential benefit to the climate research and climate change impacts communities, as well as to business and society in general. The work has been done to lay the foundations for this by agreeing the scientific and technical steps needed to run these high resolution climate models and validate their results - it is further noted that these agreements were made both within the project and at an international level through different scientific panels dedicated to this type of research (CMIP6 and HighResMIP).
The added value of using high resolution in climate models for representing surface air temperature
The difference between low and high resolution ocean models
Illustration of “ice growth-ice thickness feedback” in the Arctic
The high resolution AWI ocean model adjusted to the baroclinic Rossby radius
Resolution-induced flux changes to the strength of the AMOC in the MPI ESM
Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperature bias in the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model