Decadal prediction: what are the biggest knowledge gaps

Event Highlights

One of the research themes covered in EUCP is decadal prediction. This provides information for the timescales of 1-10 years, addressing needs of policy-makers and stakeholders from various economic sectors and societal groups.

EUCP and BSC’s Earth Sciences Department organised an expert workshop to discuss issues related to development and application of decadal climate prediction. The workshop was attended by 50 climate scientists from six continents with a broad spectrum of research interests. The workshop comprised five round tables that discussed the following topics: (i) physics behind the sources of decadal climate predictability, (ii) initialisation, (iii) forecast uncertainty, (iv) forecast quality assessment and (v) usability of decadal prediction.

Some of the concrete recommendations that emerged from the discussions suggest how to:

  • set the experiments and run the decadal simulations: by using the multi-model coordinated approach to better understand predictability and forecast quality;
  • provide a set of best practices for the initialisation of decadal predictions: by using systematic sensitivity studies;
  • advance the understanding of the model spread by using emerging constraints;
  • improve usability of decadal prediction by achieving a united and authoritative voice when communicating about this new climate information and applying novel communication strategies.

The workshop also brought in new questions and issues that should be addressed in the near future, if we are to move decadal prediction from research to a widely used operational climate service. You can find more information here:   https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0190.1