Climate modelling

We contribute to estimating possible changes in the regional climate of Northern Europe, bordering sea areas and a major part of the Arctic for the 21. century, given a change in the global climate.

Climate in this respect encompasses the statistical properties of elements like air temperature, precipitation amounts, wind at 10 meter, sea surface salinity and temperature, and sea condition. Scenario projections of these parameters in our region include estimates of typical seasonal variations, typical variations from year to year, and probable changes in severe weather conditions (high wind speeds, large precipitations amounts and extreme sea conditions).

In order to perform our tasks within climate modelling, our researchers have established a regional climate model which gives us more accurate data in space (50x50 km2) and time (hourly) for elements in the atmosphere and land surface. Consequently it should give us a more realistic quantitative distribution in various regions. In addition a coupled atmosphere, ocean and sea ice model is under development, where the three parts interact continuously during the simulation.

The global and regional studies show that we will get a warmer and more humid winter climate in Northern Europe, with the strongest warming in the Arctic. The possibility for bigger changes in temperature and circulation patterns in the Arctic region due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases is present. This means that Norway will be a vulnerable area and will have to adapt to changes in the climate.

The uncertainties in the scenarios are mainly associated with estimates of future emissions of greenhouse gases, deficiencies in the global and regional climate models and the variability of the atmosphere as well as the response of the atmosphere to a gradual change of the climatic forcing. So far the institute has contributed with one regional climate scenario for the next 50 years under the RegClim project. We are planning to develop several more in the years to come.

The results of the simulations are used as one source of data in impact studies or vulnerability analyses for various sectors in Norwegian society, e.g. fishery, agriculture, forestry, transport, tourism, and health. Two examples from the simulation of the model show the projected change during the next 50 years for winter temperature at 2-meter (°C) and autumn precipitation (in percent).

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