Climate researchers gather at international meeting in Stockholm

What does global warming mean in different parts of the world? About 350 of the world's climate researchers are meeting in Stockholm to discuss detailed regional calculations of climate change, which are necessary to create supporting information for decisions on regional climate work. The ICRC CORDEX 2016 conference (17-20 May) will conclude with a summary of the scientific challenges that researchers will continue to work with.

"The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underlines the need for regional climate data in its work after the climate agreement in Paris, and it will also be a clear focus in future IPCC reports. The Cordex conference promotes an important exchange of knowledge between climate researchers from different parts of the world," says Rolf Brennerfelt, Director-General of SMHI.

At the Cordex conference, researchers will discuss and communicate knowledge about high resolution regional climate calculations for different areas in the world, tools for these calculations, effects and applications. On the last day, selected pilot studies will be presented, as well as scientific challenges that will be studied in more depth within Cordex.

"We will use this CORDEX conference to explore some very challenging questions about regional climate," said David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Programme, which launched CORDEX in 2009.  "Do we need customised information, scenarios and predictions for each specific region, or can we use the same approach to answer climate questions in multiple regions?  How do we incorporate more local expertise into our international work? Where and how will the users of climate information find sufficient regional data?”

Regional supporting information for decisions - one example

SMHI is hosting the international Cordex office. Cordex is a leading supplier of regional climate calculations based on global climate scenarios. Information at the regional scale is a prerequisite for work on climate adaptation, impact studies and climate services.

One clear example of decision data based on regional climatic data is the set of future climate analyses that SMHI has developed for all the counties in Sweden. The basis for these are global scenarios that have been processed using a regional climate model.

"We get more detailed information that we can analyse, such as studying how rainfall may change in different parts of the country in a future climate. We can also compare developments with different levels of emissions of greenhouse gases and provide the county administrative boards with decision data for their climate work," says Erik Kjellström, head of SMHI climate research at the Rossby Centre and a participant in the Cordex conference.

Great needs around the world

The need for regional climate information is huge. Since researchers work across borders in Cordex, there are good opportunities for developing detailed climate scenarios of areas that do not produce their own basic material. This is particularly important for developing countries. For example, SMHI has developed climate scenarios for Africa and south Asia. The scenarios are freely accessible from a display service at and data can be downloaded from SMHI's data node in the Earth System Grid Federation.

Torr flodbädd i Afrika.

"Last year we received a special grant from the government to increase the exchange of knowledge with Africa. We carried out a series of workshops where researchers from Sweden worked together with African researchers to increase knowledge of how regional calculations can be used for decision-making. The researchers also planned co-authored scientific articles that can be included as supporting documents for future IPCC climate reports," says Erik Kjellström.