Endorsed Flagship Pilot Studies

http://www.icrc-cordex2016.org

Five FPS propsals, out of nine, were selected from the first round of submissions and announced at the last day of the ICRC-CORDEX 2016 conference;

South America: Extreme precipitation events in Southeastern South America: a proposal for a better understanding and modeling

Contact person Maria Bettolli  bettolli@at.fcen.uba.ar

Southeastern South America (SESA) is a highly populated region where socio-economic activities are mainly based on rainfed agriculture and cattle rising, for   both domestic consumption and exports. The hydroelectric power utilities are also very important as they supply energy to the region and rivers provide the water for consumption.

SESA has   been characterized by a remarkable increment in the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events, particularly during the late 20th century. The region is particularly vulnerable to extreme events due to adaptation measures have not been performed at the same rate as changes in these extreme   events. However, it is still a challenge to better identify the factors and mechanisms that determine the location, intensity and frequency of the precipitation extremes and their large hydrologic impacts.

The main objectives of the SESA-FPS are to study multi-scale processes and interactions (convection, local, regional and remote processes, including the   co-behaviour of processes) that result in these extreme precipitation events; and to develop actionable climate information from multiple sources (statistical and dynamical downscaling products) based on co-production with the impact and user community.

This initiative seeks to promote inter-institutional collaboration and further networking, integrating not only South American research communities but also   European communities, taking into account that, in the recent years, there have been little or scattered activities related with inter-institutional coordinated regional climate modeling.

Multi-scale aspects, processes and interactions that result in extreme precipitation events will be investigated using dynamical models (high resolution, convection permitting and coupled models) and statistical models. ESD and RCM products will be compared and validated exploring the added value of downscaling. This will allow for a strengthened cooperation between ESD and RCM communities to jointly tackle key issues of regional climate change research. The impact of   heavy precipitations on flooding and soil moisture conditions will be assessed using a water balance model, and hydrological models will be used to   simulate ground water and soil moisture to drive crop models. In this   context, an increased cooperation and integration of RCM, ESD and VIA communities is expected towards a distillation of actionable information from multiple sources of downscaled products.

Data from RELAMPAGO, CHUVA and SALLJEX field campaigns will be available to perform the proposed studies, providing highly temporal-spatial resolution data to   characterize the synoptic scale, mesoscale, and convective scale flows in the region. Observed long records from surface meteorological and hydrological stations from different local institutions and the CLARIS-LPB initiative as well as a net of meteorological stations which includes the measurement of soil moisture at different levels will be available for calibration and validation of models (ESD, RCM, impact models.

Europe+ Mediterranean; Convective phenomena at high resolution over Europe and the Mediterranean

Contact person Erika Coppola coppolae@ictp.it or Stefan Sobolowski stefan.sobolowski@uni.no

Damaging weather events are often associated with extreme convective precipitation (Ducrocq et al. 2014). Convective cells occur due to rapidly ascending motions in areas of moisture convergence in regions of conditionally unstable atmospheric stratification. They can form anywhere in Europe and in Mediterranean areas, over homogeneous plains, or can develop from orographic barriers, land/sea or urban/rural contrasts. Convection induces a variety of potentially severe consequences such as heavy rainfall, flash floods, short-lived windstorms, hail and/or lightning.

Climate change potentially alters convection, making extreme precipitation more extreme, and also potentially modifying large-scale conditions (atmospheric circulation and stratification) making convection less or more favorable. This induces changes in return periods of precipitation extremes.

The study of convective precipitation events and their evolution under human-induced climate change is therefore of particular importance, and it is also timely:

  • Large field campaigns dedicated to the study of heavy precipitation events such as HyMeX (Ducrocq et al., 2014) and gridded high-resolution precipitation datasets (typically hourly, kilometer scale) , often merging station and radar data (Wüest et al. 2010, Delrieu et al. 2014) now provide a wealth of observations;
  • Computer capacity and model development now allow limited-area convection-permitting climate simulations at longer time-scales (Kendon et al., 2012, 2014; Ban et al., 2014, 2015, Leutwyler et al., http://www.c2sm.ethz.ch/research/crCLIM.html), enabeling a quantum jump in atmospheric climate modeling;
  • Homogeneous observation data sets collected over the years now unveil emerging trend signals in most extreme precipitations, particularly at sub-daily time scales (Westra et al., 2014) and in Mediterranean and Alpine mountain ranges (Vautard et al., 2015; Scherrer et al. 2016)
  • Several issues linked to detection, attribution, and downscaling of the very localized consequences of extreme convective events can now benefit from recent progress in advanced statistical methods combined with advances in dynamical modeling (Beaulant et al., 2011).

Convective extreme events are a priority under the WCRP Grand Challenge on climate extremes, because they carry both society-relevant and scientific challenges that can be tackled in the coming years. Further, “coordinated modeling programs are crucially needed to advance parameterizations of unresolved physics and to assess the full potential of CPMs” (Prein et al., 2015)

The proposal reflects a number of FPS criteria and aims to enlist research groups beyond the current CORDEX community. Present and future convective extremes and their processes will be investigated with models at convection-permitting resolutions over selected sub-regions of Europe and the Mediterranean. Advanced statistical techniques will also be employed in parallel to evaluate the performance of dynamical models and to, potentially, serve as emulators of convective extremes, as well as detect and attribute their changes. The added value of fine scale representation of convection will be rigorously evaluated with respect to both coarser resolution simulations up to GCM scales and VIA applications. The availability of observational datasets at very high resolutions in both space and time allows unprecedented evaluation opportunities. The FPS mobilizes the Euro- and Med-CORDEX communities and is also open to new partners who bring fresh perspectives and expertise to bear on issues surrounding convective phenomena.

Europe; Impact of land use changes on climate in Europe across spatial and temporal scales

Contact person Diana Rechid diana.rechid@hzg.de

We propose the Flagship Pilot Study “LUCAS” (Land Use & Climate Across Scales) for Europe, as a EURO-CORDEX & LUCID initiative supported by WCRP CORDEX and the GEWEX-GLASS international program. The spatial fragmentation of land use dynamics in Europe requires fine-scale modelling techniques, and their biophysical impacts on climate are often dominant on local to regional scales. Our overall objective is to identify robust biophysical impacts of land use changes (LUC) in Europe on climate across regional to local spatial scales and at various time scales from extreme events to multi-decadal:

  • Can local LUC attenuate negative impacts of climate change, e.g. extreme events in Europe?
  • What is the effect of spatial resolution on the magnitude and robustness of LUC-induced climate changes?
  • How large is the contribution of LUC to detected past and potential future climate trends in Europe?

In order to derive robust answers, we want to initiate a new era of coordinated regional climate model (RCM) ensemble LUC experiments on high spatial resolutions based on consistent land use dynamics for the past and the future. We include a new generation of RCMs, which couple regional atmosphere interactively with further components of the regional earth system, e.g. terrestrial biosphere and hydrosphere. The multi-model experiments shall be conducted over multiple gridded nests to refine the continental simulations down to resolutions below 5 km. Pilot regions are carefully chosen to a) evaluate the validity of coupled atmosphere-land simulations, b) better resolve the heterogeneity of land use changes in Europe and its local impacts on climate.

RCMs have been applied individually for investigating impacts of LUC on regional climate in different world regions (e.g. see reviews of Pielke et al. 2011, Mahmood et al. 2014). Most results are model specific and therefore do not allow one to derive robust conclusions and strategic directions. In this new initiative, for the first time an ensemble of RCMs will be used in coordinated experiments to inter-compare their sensitivities to LUC. Essential variables and fine-scale processes will be evaluated against multi-variable observations from flux towers, satellite sensors and new airborne and spaceborn radar techniques.

In our context, LUC refer to anthropogenic land cover changes as well as land management changes, as suggested by Luyssaert et al. (2014). The topic is of high societal relevance with respect to mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions, e.g. through reforestation, and adaptation to local consequences of climate change, e.g. through irrigation of croplands. de Noblet-Ducoudré et al. (2012) demonstrated that regional impacts can be at least as important as greenhouse gas forcings, but biophysical feedbacks of land use changes on regional climate are still uncertain in magnitude and sign. There is an urgent need for robust information, which may help to prevent decisions on land management from unintended consequences.

We are prepared to build further collaborations with modelling activities over other CORDEX regions towards coordinated LUC experiments over multiple world regions.

Mediterranean; Role of the natural and anthropogenic aerosols in the Mediterranean region: past climate variability and future climate sensitivity

Contact person Solmon Fabien fsolmon@ictp.it or Marc Mallet marc.mallet@earo.obs-mip.fr

Aerosols strongly affect the Mediterranean basin located at the crossroads of air masses carrying both natural and anthropogenic particles making the basin an ideal    testbed for aerosol effects on climate. The aerosols have strong effects on the regional climate fluctuations from daily to multi-decadal scales due to    their direct, semi-direct and indirect effects on radiation, atmospheric circulation and cloud cover. Aerosols also represent one of the main sources of uncertainty in past    climate change attribution and future climate change projections at global and regional scales. Due to their relatively short life-time, aerosols    influencing the Mediterranean area are mostly produced in nearby regions and therefore they constitute a regional climate forcing of regional origin. In addition, the aerosols show a hig spatio-temporal variability and are influenced by numerous fine-scale processes. The use of high-resolution RCMs therefore fits well to address the four main scientific questions of the proposed FPS:

(1) Can we fully characterize the Mediterranean aerosol past variability and future evolution at climate scales ? in particular using RCMs.

(2) Can we understand the role of the Mediterranean aerosols on the past regional climate variability? including issues related to regional climate change    attribution and aerosols representation in climate models (GCM, RCM).  

(3) Can we determine the role of regionally-born aerosols in the Mediterranean future climate sensitivity ? in particular using RCMs as complementary approach to GCMs.  

(4) What is the aerosol role in shaping the Mediterranean extreme events ? (e.g. heat waves, heavy precipitation events)    

The proposed FPS will be facilitated by recent observation efforts such as the ChArMEx programme, long-term multi-variable super-sites, availability of new    homogenized datasets for AOD and surface shortwave and longwave radiations from in-situ coordinated networks (AERONET, GEBA, BRSN) and climate-aware satellite initiatives (ESA-CCI). 

The representation of aerosols and their effects in RCMs is still very crude and uncertain and a multi-model approach is therefore requested to bring robust answers to the scientific questions CORDEX then constitutes an adequate framework to propose scientifically-based and well-coordinated simulation protocols involving RCMs with various aerosol representations    

The proposed FPS targets in particular a better understanding of solar radiation variability and future changes. This is required to anticipate potential energy    production or to understand the level of production of existing sites. The FPS may therefore leads to new and innovative climate services for energy producers over the Euro-Mediterranean area. Another outcomes of the FPS concerns the marine biogeochemistry of the oligotrophic Mediterranean Sea ecosystem as particles constitute one of the main sources of regional nutrients.  

Besides, this FPS will contribute to several WCRP Grand Challenges, to the CORDEX Challenge about the coupled regional climate models and to the climate modelling activities of the Mediterranean regional programmes of Gewex (HyMeX) and CLIVAR (Med-CLIVAR).

Mediterranean; Role of the air-sea coupling and small scale ocean processess on regional climate

Contact person Gabriel Jordà gabriel.jorda@uib.cat or Gianmaria Sannino gianmaria.sannino@enea.it

The mechanisms through which air-sea coupling can modify the regional climate will be investigated in this FPS, with special emphasis on the role of small    scale ocean processes and waves. This FPS is a natural continuation of the activities of MedCORDEX, HyMeX and MedCLIVAR. The selected region is the    area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, which is often referred to as an ocean in miniature due to the variety of processes occurring therein. These include strong air-sea interactions, active mesoscale and submesoscale dynamics and a permanent thermohaline overturning circulation. Moreover, this area is one of the best observed regions in the world. Besides the dense observational network of meteorological stations over Europe, the Mediterranean Sea is regularly sampled by different monitoring programs (e.g HyMeX, the regional component of Gewex) providing observations of the ocean-atmosphere coupled system over the last decades (Jordà et al., 2016). The Mediterranean region is therefore a particularly suitable candidate for this FPS.  

Ocean mesoscale in the Mediterranean Sea is characterized by a Rossby deformation radius of 5-10 km. In consequence, the SST often shows narrow and sharp fronts (e.g. in upwelling regions) as well as filaments with associated strong temperature gradients that can significantly modify the air-sea interaction (Chelton et al., 2004) and affect the climate evolution (Artale et al., 2009). Ocean mesoscale also plays a crucial role in the main mechanism of heat uptake by the ocean, namely dense water formation, which modelling requires both atmospheric (~25 km) and oceanic (~5-10 km) high spatial resolution that present GCMs are not able to achieve. Last, the Mediterranean wind-wave climate is characterized by high temporal and spatial variability due to the channeling of winds acting over the sea by the orography (Lionello et al. 2005). Wave effects on the turbulent heat fluxes are known to be important and the inclusion of this interaction in regional models is also expected to have a significant impact on long term simulations.   

A detailed analysis of how air-sea coupling at high resolution can modify the regional climate, and consequently the global climate, is still missing in the literature. There are some indications that it can provide an added value to RCMs in both present climate (Artale et al 2009, Nabat et al., 2015) and future scenarios (Somot et al., 2008), but the mechanisms nderlying such impact are not completely understood. Global climate modelling should therefore benefit from this FPS as it will give clues for the future design of GCMs.

This FPS will moreover provide to the broad community focusing on the impacts of climate change on marine environments (e.g. marine ecosystems, fisheries and coastal infrastructures including harbour operations, ocean energy harvesting, tourism activities and beach management ) a database of regional ocean and atmosphere projections which    consistency will be insured by the common robust protocol used for the simulations. ). This FPS should therefore have a great potential in terms of funding opportunities while insuring an efficient transfer of knowledge, insofar as many of end-users are already familiar with climate information.

Flagship Pilot Studies

http://www.cordex.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=276:fps-2&catid=117&Itemid=735

Five FPS propsals, out of nine, were selected from the first round of submissions and announced at the last day of the ICRC-CORDEX 2016 conference;

South America: Extreme precipitation events in Southeastern South America: a proposal for a better understanding and modeling

Europe+ Mediterranean; Convective phenomena at high resolution over Europe and the Mediterranean

Europe; Impact of land use changes on climate in Europe across spatial and temporal scales

Mediterranean; Role of the natural and anthropogenic aerosols in the Mediterranean region: past climate variability and future climate sensitivity

Mediterranean; Role of the air-sea coupling and small scale ocean processess on regional climate

More information about the endorsed FPS proposals can be found here or under the CORDEX News tab of the menu above.

Vacancy: Director, International Project Office for CORDEX

Would you like to be responsible for developing and leading the work of the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX)? Do you enjoy blending your climate science knowledge with project management, coordination and strategic development skills? Are you excited by the prospect of working with an international community towards meeting key global challenges? 

If so SMHI, the host institute of the International Project Office for CORDEX (IPOC), is recruiting for an IPOC Director. For further information and details of how to apply see here.

Subset of CORDEX simulations become available again

Since mid June, ESGF has been down due to a software upgrade and no CORDEX simulations published on ESGF in recent years are currently available for download. However, we are happy to inform CORDEX users that a temporary resource has now been configured on a Swedish ESGF development node. All SMHI-RCA4, ICTP-RegCM4 and MGO-RRCM CORDEX simulations which were previously available on the Swedish node will become available again within the next two days.  Some simulations for Africa and the Arctic are already available. Note that this is a test deployment of the new ESGF software, and may face intermittent service interruptions.

Temporary resource:

http://esg-devel.nsc.liu.se

For instructions on how to use this temporary resource, please refer to: https://www.nsc.liu.se/storage/esgf-testnode/

For updates about data availability and schedule for return to full operational status, please continue to check: http://esg-dn1.nsc.liu.se

Many thanks to all ESGF developers and all local ESGF node admins who worked on development of new ESGF software and especially to Prashanth Dwarakanath and Kai Lu from the National Supercomputer Centre at Linköping University (Sweden) who worked really hard on the first test installation of new ESGF.