The climate is clearly changing and society is confronted with extreme weather phenomena and climate- related hazards that it is often ill-prepared for, despite efforts to anticipate and mitigate against adverse effects. The overarching objective of the European Climate Prediction (EUCP) system is to develop an innovative European regional ensemble climate prediction system based on a new generation of improved and typically higher-resolution climate models, covering timescales from seasons to decades initialised with observations, and designed to support practical and strategic climate adaptation and mitigation decision-taking on local, national and global scales.
EUCP will link current observed climate conditions, near future predictions and more distant future projections out to 40 years ahead. Such a climate prediction system and framework are currently lacking. It will provide an authoritative framework to assess the impacts and risks of variations in climatic conditions across, but not limited to, Europe from regional to local scale suitable for use in a range of sectoral applications as a solid basis for investment decisions, spatial planning, and policy and adaptation options.
EUCP will produce credible probabilistic statements on near future (less than 10 years) high impact extreme events that bear their origin in the current state of the system and its expected evolution. This is needed for risk based planning and decision making. It will also provide robust information of the envelope of the potential occurrence of these events further into the future (to 40 years), tailored to enhance the resilience of vulnerable sectors in our society. It will therefore satisfy users of probability distributions and those requiring plausible realisations of future climate. It will provide clear guidance on how these can be exploited together. This will add significant extra value to raw climate observations and model simulations.
Past observations, and future predictions and projections will be integrated components in a seamless climate prediction system. The system will harvest from the wealth of existing and planned predictions and projections at the global and regional scale, and create tools to combine the information derived from these components into impact-relevant analyses. It will address the many barriers to providing seamless forecasts, such as the strong initialisation shocks, the need for corrections to match observed variability and increase forecast reliability in the nearer term, and the use of constraints to bound uncertainty in the longer term.
The system and methodologies to be developed will be sustainable. As newer experiments with climate models become available they can be included in the EUCP framework to incorporate their benefits for decision making. The evolving experience with tailoring climate information to better serve user needs will be continuously integrated into the EUCP system. This represents a step change in how we make use of, for instance, future Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments.
EUCP has 4 objectives
The system (objective1) will combine initialised climate predictions on the multi-annual timescale with longer-term climate projections and high resolution regional downscaling, using observations for evaluation. Methodologies will be developed to characterize uncertainty and to seamlessly blend the predictions and projections. Users will be engaged through active user groups. The system will be utilized (objective2) with users to co-produce information suitable for European climate service activities. A set of demonstrators will show the value of this information in real-world applications with user involvement (objective3). Key outputs will include disseminating and publishing the project’s methodologies, and user-relevant data and knowledge (objective4).