Met Office Hadley Centre
& Hon. Prof. Exeter University
"Bridging the gap between weather forecasts and climate change projections"
Thursday, April 13, 2017
6:30 PM, Davis Auditorium
412 Schapiro Center
Abstract: Weather forecasts and climate projections have matured scientifically to the point where they now deliver a multitude of regular services but the availability of skillful predictions for the timescale in between, from months to a few years ahead, is much more limited. Nevertheless, there would be great benefit to society if skillful predictions were possible, as many government and private business users assess risk and make plans on this timescale. While long range forecasts for the tropics have been established for many years, studies have suggested that it may not be possible to provide anything more than a broad range of plausible impending climate states for many other regions due to the apparent dominance of internal and unpredictable climate variability. Here we show recent seasonal and decadal prediction results from the Met Office Hadley Centre. Unlike climate projections which rely only on boundary forcing, or weather forecasts which rely only on initial conditions, these predictions are made using a new state-of-the-art high resolution climate model which is both forced with boundary conditions (e.g. greenhouse gases) and initialized with latest observations (in the atmosphere, ocean and land surface). Significant and potentially useful long range forecast skill is demonstrated, even for the extratropics in some seasons. We describe some of the predictable factors and mechanisms by which this comes about and describe some of the emerging services that will help to bridge the gap between future weather and climate services.
Biography: Adam Scaife is head of Monthly to Decadal Prediction at the Met Office which includes the research, production and issuing of climate predictions from months to a few years ahead. These ensemble climate predictions and the research behind them helps contingency planners in the UK and abroad to deal with impending climate variability and change. Adam's personal research is focused on climate variability and computer modelling of the climate. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed articles on mechanisms of climate variability and predictability and their simulation in physically based computer models. His research group recently made an important breakthrough in seasonal forecasting for winter. Adam has led the Monthly to Decadal Prediction Group since 2008 after spending 5 years leading a smaller team of scientists investigating climate variability. He has over 20 years experience in climate modelling and climate prediction. His recent studies help to clarify what caused changes in European climate from cold blocked winters in the 1960s to the mild wet winters of the 1990s, as well as year-to-year effects from El Niño, the stratosphere and other sources of predictability. Adam successfully simulated the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation using parameterized gravity waves for the first time in the Met Office’s climate model and his work has reduced some of the major errors in climate model simulations of the atmosphere - for example in reducing the errors in atmospheric 'blocking'. He also demonstrated with colleagues that the Brewer-Dobson circulation and the associated mass transfer across the tropopause is expected to increase under climate change. Adam has played a leading role in international projects and scientific steering groups and his key contributions have been recognized by a number of external awards.
Hosts: Lorenzo Polvani and Michael Previdi
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