Modelling the future climate on a regional scale requires both cooperation and computer power. Part of the work of CORDEX is to support countries that do not have the resources to produce regional climate information and to enable them to take advantage of global cooperation. At the big EGU Geoscience meeting, EGU2020, which took place on 4-8 May 2020, information produced within the CORDEX community was presented at several of the sessions.
The CORDEX (COordinated Regional Downscaling EXperiment) project office is located at SMHI in Sweden, and coordinates global cooperation for the development of climate scenarios and models on local and regional scales. CORDEX work is very important for the IPCC reports, including the forthcoming Assessment Report 6 (AR6).
Several of the sessions at EGU2020 discussed regional climate modelling from different aspects and therefore had strong links to CORDEX work.
Prioritising particularly vulnerable areas
CORDEX is about working towards sustainable societies by helping decision-makers and others to understand the risks associated with a changing climate. Studies based on CORDEX information show the importance of working with high resolution and with well-described physical processes.
– In this way we can respond to specific regional problems, for example by predicting precipitation more accurately in regions with complex topography. At the same time we can see changes in land use and regional climate and consequently improve our knowledge about planning and risk management in areas with low capacity, says Iréne Lake, Director of the International Project Office for CORDEX at SMHI.
Many of the analyses and experiments presented at the conference were based on CORDEX CORE results which are simulations carried out under specified minimum requirements, for example for resolution (grid spacing) and the time span. Since regional climate modelling requires huge amounts of computer power, the CORDEX network has suggested a priority list, including areas which are particularly vulnerable to changes in the climate.
The climate at the poles significantly affects the rest of the world, both socio-economically and ecologically. Regional climate models also play an important role here, to increase our understanding of the mechanisms affecting life environments, both historically and in the future.
Strengthening cooperation between experts and researchers
One of the goals of EGU is to create and strengthen the cooperation between experts and researchers from various disciplines. Representatives from both CORDEX and SMHI have been important contributors to several of the sessions. For example one of the CORDEX pilot projects on convective processes over Europe and the Mediterranean was highlighted during a session on atmospheric modelling, where the resolution needs to be high enough to describe the convection correctly.
CORDEX was also included in an Open Science session with the purpose of developing innovative tools and techniques to integrate, manage, evaluate and spread information for different systems for ESSP (Earth Systems Science Prediction).
Working for a sustainable future
– The challenges that we all experience and will face due to climate change permeate all parts of research and the community. EGU is an established and important forum for sharing experience and following the latest developments. SMHI and CORDEX are bringing new insights that can help us to be even better at contributing to a sustainable future for everyone living on our planet, says Iréne Lake.