Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

How cold will a winter be in two years?

06.12.2012
New study shows: climate models still struggle with medium-term climate forecasts

How well are the most important climate models able to predict the weather conditions for the coming year or even the next decade? The Potsdam scientists Dr. Dörthe Handorf and Prof. Dr. Klaus Dethloff from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI) have evaluated 23 climate models and published their results in the current issue of the international scientific journal Tellus A.

Their conclusion: there is still a long way to go before reliable regional predictions can be made on seasonal to decadal time scales. None of the models evaluated is able today to forecast the weather-determining patterns of high and low pressure areas such that the probability of a cold winter or a dry summer can be reliably predicted.

The most important questions currently being asked in climate research concern the impact of global climate change regionally and in the medium term. These are the subjects of national and international research programmes and will play a large role in the next world climate report because societies having to adjust to climatic changes should know which specific changes they must expect. For the energy or agricultural sector, for example, it would be enormously important to know if the weather conditions prevailing in a region in the medium term could be reliably predicted. Against this background, the prediction quality of current climate models for the period of seasons to a decade is of great importance.

The Earth’s weather is significantly determined by large-scale circulation patterns of the atmosphere. One example of this is the North Atlantic oscillation which influences the strength and location of the westerly winds over the North Atlantic and therefore determines the tracks of the low pressure systems over North and Central Europe. Circulation patterns of this nature, also referred to as “teleconnection”, are distributed over the entire globe and determine the spatial and temporal distribution of areas of high and low pressure over large distances. Scientists speak here of the formation of “meteorological centres of action” which determine the weather of an entire region. In the case of the North Atlantic oscillation, these are the known weather centres of the “Icelandic Low” and the “Azores High”.

“Short-term weather forecasts are now very reliable. The problems for seasonal and decadal, that is medium-term, predictions refer to the enormous variability and the broad range of feedback effects to which atmospheric circulation is subjected”, explains AWI meteorologist Dörthe Handorf with respect to the special challenge presented to model makers. To test the forecast quality of the 23 most important climate models, the AWI scientists investigated how well these models were able to reproduce atmospheric teleconnection patterns over the past 50 years. A total of 9 known circulation patterns were investigated retrospectively, four of which in special detail. The result was that the spatial distribution of atmospheric teleconnection patterns is already described very well by some models. However, none of the models were able to reliably reproduce how strong or weak the Icelandic Low, Azores High and other meteorological centres of action were at a particular time over the last 50 years, i.e. the temporal distribution patterns.

“Climate researchers throughout the world are currently working on increasing the resolution of their models and the performance of their climate computers”, says AWI researcher Dörthe Handorf in describing an obvious and important possibility of further improving the medium-term prediction quality of climate models. This enables climatic changes to be reproduced on a smaller spatial and temporal scale. “But it will not be enough to increase the pure computer power”, says the Potsdam scientist who has worked on questions of climate variability since 1997. “We must continue to work on understanding the basic processes and interactions in this complicated system called “atmosphere”. Even a high power computer reaches its limits if the mathematical equations of a climate model do not describe the real processes accurately enough.”

The Arctic plays a key role in optimising climate models. It is one of the most important drivers of our climate and weather and is at the same time one of the regions in which the climate is currently changing the most. The “High North” is also so inhospitable that data on the Arctic is sparse. Future research work of the Potsdam scientists therefore goes in two directions. Firstly, they are developing a climate model which can resolve the small-scale, weather-determining processes in the Arctic particularly well. The TORUS project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the “MiKlip – A Research Project on Decadal Climate Prediction” research programme and coordinated by Dörthe Handorf. However, since model improvements are only possible if comprehensive data records in high quality are available, a large international field campaign is planned in the Arctic for the period 2018-2019. It will demand a lot from the participating scientists because part of the field campaign is to be an international Arctic drift station in which a team of researchers will drift through the Arctic Ocean with the sea ice in the Arctic winter for several months.

Notes for Editors
The original article is entitled: Handorf, D. and K. Dethloff “How well do state-of-the-art Atmosphere-Ocean general circulation models reproduce atmospheric teleconnection patterns?”, Tellus A, 2012, 64, 19777, (doi: 10.3402/tellusa.v64i0.19777), http://www.tellusa.net/index.php/tellusa/article/view/19777

Your scientific contact persons at the Alfred Wegener Institute are Dr. Dörthe Handorf (Tel: +49 (0)331 288-2131, e-mail: Doerthe.Handorf(at)awi.de ) and Prof. Dr. Klaus Dethloff (Tel.: +49 (0)331 288-2104, e-mail: Klaus.Dethloff(at)awi.de ). Ralf Röchert, Department of Communications and Media Relations will be at your disposal as well (Tel.: +49 (0)471 4831-1680; e-mail: Ralf.Roechert(at)awi.de).

Please find printable images on: http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/

Follow the Alfred Wegener Institute on Twitter (https://twitter.com/AWI_de) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AlfredWegenerInstitut) for current news and information on everyday small stories from the life of the Institute.

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the national and international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of eighteen research centres in the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Ralf Röchert | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Biomass turnover time in ecosystems is halved by land use
23.08.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

nachricht Diversity of habitats at natural oil seeps
22.08.2016 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neues DFKI-Projekt SELFIE schlägt innovativen Weg in der Verifikation cyber-physischer Systeme ein

Vor der Markteinführung müssen neue Computersysteme auf ihre Korrektheit überprüft werden. Jedoch ist eine vollständige Verifikation aufgrund der Komplexität heutiger Rechner aus Zeitgründen oft nicht möglich. Im nun gestarteten Projekt SELFIE verfolgt der Forschungsbereich Cyber-Physical Systems des Deutschen Forschungszentrums für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI) unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler einen grundlegend neuen Ansatz, der es Systemen ermöglicht, sich nach der Produktion und Auslieferung selbst zu verifizieren. Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) unterstützt das Vorhaben über drei Jahre mit einer Fördersumme von 1,4 Millionen Euro.

In den letzten Jahrzehnten wurden enorme Fortschritte in der Computertechnik erzielt. Ergebnis dieser Entwicklung sind eingebettete und cyber-physische...

Im Focus: „Künstliches Atom“ in Graphen-Schicht

Elektronen offenbaren ihre Quanteneigenschaften, wenn man sie in engen Bereichen gefangen hält. Ein Forschungsteam mit TU Wien-Beteiligung baut Elektronen-Gefängnisse in Graphen.

Wenn man Elektronen in einem engen Gefängnis einsperrt, dann benehmen sie sich ganz anders als im freien Raum. Ähnlich wie die Elektronen in einem Atom können...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Quanten-Jonglieren mit freien Elektronen

Göttinger Wissenschaftler manipulieren Quantenzustand freier Elektronen mit Lichtfeldern

In der klassischen Physik kann ein Elektron nur eine einzige, bestimmte Geschwindigkeit annehmen. Quantenmechanisch ist es jedoch möglich, dass es sich in...

Im Focus: Nanopelz gegen die Ölpest

Einige Schwimmfarne können in kurzer Zeit große Mengen Öl aufnehmen, denn ihre Blätter sind zugleich stark wasserabstoßend und in hohem Maße ölabsorbierend. Eine Forschergruppe des KIT hat gemeinsam mit Kollegen der Universität Bonn herausgefunden, dass die Wasserpflanze die ölbindende Eigenschaft der haarähnlichen Mikrostruktur ihrer Blattoberfläche verdankt. Sie dient nun als Vorbild, um das Material Nanofur weiterzuentwickeln, das Ölverschmutzungen umweltfreundlich beseitigen soll. (DOI: 10.1088/1748-3190/11/5/056003)

Beschädigte Pipelines, Tankerhavarien und Unfälle auf Förderplattformen können Wasserflächen mit Roh- oder Mineralöl verschmutzen. Herkömmliche Verfahren zum...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

HTW Berlin richtet im September die 30. EnviroInfo aus

23.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen

micro photonics mit Kurs auf Premiere in Berlin

22.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen

„BirdNumbers 2016“ - 300 Ornithologen kommen zu internationaler Tagung an die Uni Halle

22.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Mit Kristallen regenerativ Wasserstoff erzeugen

23.08.2016 | Energie und Elektrotechnik

Signalübertragung zielgenau steuern: Neue Erkenntnisse für künftige Therapieansätze

23.08.2016 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

RWI/ISL-Containerumschlag-Index: Anstieg des Welthandels setzt sich fort

23.08.2016 | Wirtschaft Finanzen