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Prediction of future precipitation

Image of clouds modeled by a kilometer-scale global climate model. Credit: Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg.

Despite decades of research, what will happen to precipitation in the coming years remains unknown, and severe floods, as well as prolonged droughts, are already challenging expectations.

Today, in an article published in Nature climate changeExperts argue that the answers exist, but a huge, cooperative international investment in resources, expertise and infrastructure, estimated at around $250 million a year, is urgently needed to develop much better climate models.

Lead author Dame Julia Slingo of the Cabot Environment Institute at the University of Bristol says that “the foundation on which climate models have been built over the past 30 years misses some of the fundamental physical data we now know is needed for reliable predictions.”

“The solution is within our reach; we must take a quantum leap from our current 100 km scale global climate models to 1 km scale models. At this scale, the complex physics of rain systems is correctly represented for the first time. , with implications that go far beyond the future of our water and affect many aspects of climate change.”

The international team provides an example of building and resourcing an integrated group of leading simulation centers associated with specialized, innovative exascale computing and data processing tools. This sophisticated climate prediction system will serve all countries by providing reliable data on all aspects of climate change.

Professor Stephen Belcher, co-author and Chief Scientist at the UK Met Office, says that “the scale of the challenge is enormous. international effort.

In addition to floods and droughts, changes in the seasonality and natural variability of rainfall can have major impacts on many living systems, which in turn threaten food and water security, public health and infrastructure investment. Yet how little we know about the future of our water was crystallized in a recent IPCC assessment report; this once again showed the significant uncertainty in precipitation changes, especially at regional and local scales.

Professor Thomas Stoker, co-author and former chair of the IPCC Assessment Working Group, says that “the twin goals of Net Zero and climate resilience require a significant acceleration in the delivery of reliable and actionable climate information, especially to the most vulnerable populations. Existing climate models cannot provide this, but global investment and scientific partnerships in kilometer-long global modeling will make this a reality.”

Co-author Paul Bates, a professor of hydrology at the University of Bristol, added that “these proposed investments pale in comparison to climate-related losses, even today. lives lost, and these costs will only increase as climate change continues to bite.”

Improved extreme precipitation forecast

Additional Information:
Slingo, J. et al. An ambitious partnership is needed for reliable climate prediction, Nature climate change (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41558-022-01384-8.

Courtesy of the University of Bristol

Quote: Predicting Rainfall in the Future (2022 June 16), retrieved June 16, 2022, from

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