Regional Climate & High-Impact Weather Prediction

Meeting societal needs

High-impact weather prediction: Tropical cyclone simulation using mesh grid to increase resolutionPrint-friendly PDF

Summer 2013

I. Description

NCAR is tackling the challenges in regional climate and high-impact weather prediction with an interdisciplinary approach that brings a range of physical, mathematical, and social science expertise to bear on key societally relevant questions. This leading-edge research is directed at improved assessments and predictions of regional climate and weather, with emphasis on:

  • Understanding the two-way effects of climate variability and change on high-impact weather and the societal consequences;
  • Providing improved capacity for investigations of regional climate and high-impact weather; and
  • Establishing new approaches to effective communication with all levels of society, from resource managers and emergency planners to the general public.

II. Stage of Research

  • Climate-specific modules have been developed and implemented in the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) for explicit use in regional climate prediction.
  • Multidecadal regional climate simulations have been performed with the WRF model, creating high-resolution predictions out to 2050.
  • A next-generation, high-resolution global model deploying an "icosahedral" grid (based on hexagonal shapes instead of boxes, as illustrated above) is being developed to capture weather and climate processes across a wide range of scales.
  • State-of-the-art statistical methods are being developed to extend and complement dynamical downscaling of climate predictions.
  • Techniques are being developed to assess the societal implications of high-impact weather and climate change.
  • Risk perception and behavioral response studies are under way to improve communication of high-impact weather and climate change information.

III. Advantages

  • Provides the enhanced local, high-resolution predictions and probability information that are essential for local climate impact assessments, adaptation, and mitigation
  • Advances understanding of climate change effects on high-impact weather phenomena such as hurricanes, drought, heat waves, and severe precipitation
  • Advances understanding of climate change impacts on society and how this might best be used for adaptation and planning
  • Brings investigations of climate, weather, the larger ecosystem, and society into a unified frame as a basis for pursuit of ambitious research goals and novel applications

IV. Applications

  • Prediction of climate change effects on extreme weather conditions, including hurricanes, drought, heat waves, severe precipitation, and more
  • Hybrid statistical-dynamical investigations suitable to regional climate and high-impact weather
  • New tools and specialized approaches for assessing risks and impacts of importance to ecologists, industry, public planning experts, and society in general

V. Funding and IP Status

Primary: National Science Foundation (EaSM), Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), Willis Research Network.

Seeking additional support to expand development of high-resolution climate and weather models, statistical models, and societal impact tools for:

  • Assessing impacts, including ecological and water quality impacts
  • Understanding the role of physical processes in producing climate impacts of importance to society
  • Developing new hybrid dynamical-statistical approaches to analyzing and predicting regional climate
  • Expanding knowledge of atmosphere-ocean interactions in general and the effects on extreme weather and climate in particular
  • Understanding the cultural mechanisms through which weather and climate risks are perceived, experienced, and addressed
  • Improving communication of risk and other scientific information to advance societal preparation and response to predictions at both the weather and climate scales


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Development Contacts

Scott Rayder - Senior Advisor
+1 303.497.1673

Ari Gerstman - Washington Operations
+1 202.787.1624

Rachel Hauser - Businesses & Foundations
+1 303.497.1117

Gloria Kelly - Administrative Support
+1 303.497.2102