EUCP addresses the large differences in country capability when it comes to synthesising climate prediction and projection information, by developing a climate prediction system that provides consistent information on the range of spatial and temporal scales from ~1 to 40 years into the future across Europe. This will provide a baseline of climate change information that will address much of the current inequality and heterogeneity that underpins the current differences in country to country adaptation capability. Ensuring that all European decision makers will have access to consistent information, regardless of geographical location, is an important outcome. Different user communities have very different user requirements for climate information. These range from requirements for information, such as summary statements of likely regional changes; through maps of regional and time averaged changes; access to high resolution realisations of how natural variability can combine with climate changes to produce future extremes and impacts; to emerging signals from near term predictability. EUCP will provide climate information across this range of user requirements. Importantly, it will do so in a coherent package so that different communities drawing on different components will be drawing on information which retains a consistent assessment based on the same underlying data. This will make EUCP a truly unique climate prediction/projection system in this regard, ensuring that the underlying climate information is harmonised for the range of sectors and decision makers has not previously been realised on this scale

EUCP outlines a number of approaches across initialised predictions (WP1) and longer term scenario projections (WP2) which are intended to improve current climate data beyond what current state of the art, in line with EUCP’s top-level objective 1. The first major strand of this focuses on development of new simulation-observation comparisons. EUCP will develop new forecast verification tools, analysis and benchmarks for initialised near term prediction systems in WP1. This will provide an immediate benefit of new baseline information identifying where and when current systems have prediction skill over uninitialised simulations. It will do so in a common framework across prediction systems to enable, for the first time, the relative strengths of different systems to be assessed (both regionally and temporally). In doing so, this will provide the information on where the initialised predictions provide skill required to make them decision ready (this information will feed into the synthesis of climate data for end users, in WP5). There is a longer term benefit of the common implementation of these tools in that they provide an important basis to assess the benefits of new science changes as they are incorporated. EUCP will specifically advance the field by:

  • Processing evaluation relevant to European impacts
  • Focussing on incorporating non-ocean drivers of decadal predictability
  • Evaluating the benefits to predictability of stepping up to 25km spatial resolution
  • Assessing the improvements from incorporating perturbed physics and stochastic physics schemes.

On longer timescales, EUCP will explore multiple approaches to quantify the spread in future changes (for example contrasting constraints from Detection and Attribution approaches to more traditional probability weighting) so that the results can more reliably be used for risk based decision making. EUCP outlines new approaches to provide future realizations that sample ways that natural variability and climate change can combine (WP2). This will provide realizations that are specifically designed to span the magnitude of future changes considered plausible. This will support analysis of impacts and extremes coherent across regions and time by providing an extended “event set” to assess the impact of future extreme events on Europe. Data in this form is necessary for downstream impact models (such as flood forecasting tools). The event sets will include information from state of the art convection permitting regional models(WP3).

A core component of EUCP is the quantification and treatment of uncertainty in the information provided in order to improve estimates of risk, in line with top-level objective 2. The climate data will draw on a wider range of assessments of skill (WP1&WP2), utilise methods that give more weight to models which have demonstrated stronger skill (WP1, WP2), assess the robustness of projected changes in high resolution regional climate models capable of resolving convective processes (WP3), contrast information from different methodologies and projection/prediction systems (WP1&2) and provide consistency of these various sources (WP5). The synthesis will provide quantitative estimates of the range of future climate consistent with natural variations in European climate and uncertainties in the magnitude of climate changes. The knowledge will be expressed in a layered manner from high-level statements of regional change to provision of data, for instance for use by impact models, such as flood modeling requiring individual realizations of how climate variability and change can combine. Emerging signals provided by the near-term climate predictions will be presented within this context from the longer term changes, with EUCP focusing on how to merge the prediction/projections to be consistent across these time horizons. EUCP will provide consistent information in the form of distributions of future risk and realization of future weather and climate.

A second core component is the detailed guidance notes that will be developed on the use of the global outlook data from the initialized operational systems for near-term predictions. This will draw on new benchmarking and skill verification tools that will form new international standards to assess skill and added value. These guidance notes will draw on best-practice co-development and communication approaches to address the current user-focused information shortfall in climate information.

One of the key limitations in the use of current National Climate Projections (regardless of their sophistication, delivery, end user engagement and underlying attention to detail) is the lack of recognition of the non-climate factors that also play roles in many of the planning and adaptation decision horizons.

Often social, population or economic changes represent important factors in adaptation decisions to ensure future resilience. Examples are changes in local population, building design, and coastal defences in the face of sea level rise. And yet this information is not widely available across Europe. Füssel and Hilden (2014) identified only Finland, the Netherlands, and the UK as having developed quantitative scenarios for non-climatic variables specifically for CCIV assessments. The absence of these quantified estimates of impacts from non-climatic drivers restricts the application of more quantitative climate change risk assessments (relevant to the SDGs) as the relative importance of any climate signal and its interplay with socio-economic changes cannot be estimated. WP4 will provide context to aid this decision process by exploring the attribution of hydro-meteorological stresses (e.g. floods, storm surge, drought, wind and heat wave impacts and losses) to both climatic and non-climatic factors, drawing on socio-economic, population, and (where relevant) human water management data, over different sectors. This attribution will help identify which impacts (and what scales, variables, and regions) the climatic changes play important, or leading order roles.