Global climate models developed for detailed knowledge of climate change

Climate models are the tools used by researchers to investigate future developments in the climate. Researchers are now going to improve global climate models to learn more about climate change.

Global climate models provide an overview of the climate change throughout the world. Regional climate models recalculate information from global models and provide a more detailed description of the climate in a specific region.

Larger and faster super-computers enable the development of global climate models. They can give more detailed information about large-scale fluctuations in the atmosphere, regional climate information and extreme conditions.

"We have worked for a long time at making regional calculations of the results of climate scenarios from global models. We can now take the next step and make the global models more detailed in order to learn new things about climate change," says Ralf Döscher, researcher at the SMHI climate research unit, Rossby Centre.

Global climate models with a higher level of detail

In order to obtain better predictions of the future climate, scientists can work in two ways that complement each other: firstly, more model simulations to obtain more certain results, and secondly, higher resolution in the models to obtain more detail.

SMHI is participating in three new projects in the EU research programme Horizon 2020 to improve climate models. Scales, details and extreme weather events are particularly in focus.

Global climate models will be refined from a scale of 100 km resolution down to 25-40 km resolution. Researchers will be able to describe better the interactions between different processes in the atmosphere, land and sea. Weather and climate forecasts for extreme weather events will be improved.

The researchers will analyse how changes in models affect the results from climatic scenarios, particularly those with an effect on the climate in Europe. They will also ensure that the new climate scenarios from the earth system model EC Earth can be utilized on a regional scale.

The aim is that the climate models will produce new climate scenarios for the global archive CMIP6, which can then be the supporting documents for the UN climate panel IPCC's next climate report. The IPCC releases a climate report every 6-7 years. The last report was published in 2013-2014.