International Project Office for Regional Climate Modelling at SMHI

SMHI has been named as the host of a new International Project Office for regional climate modelling. The Office will support the development of climate models and projections of future climate, facilitate cooperation between regions and countries, and promote knowledge exchange and capacity building with a particular focus on developing regions.

Despite stiff international competition SMHI was chosen by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) as host institution of the new International Project Office for CORDEX (Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment). CORDEX is a global collaborative initiative to develop regional climate scenarios for the world's land areas.

‘They stressed our established role in regional climate modelling. They also highlighted our experience of knowledge-building in climate change impacts and adaptation to climate change in many regions around the world’, says SMHI Director General Rolf Brennerfelt on signing the official Letter of Agreement.

The growing need for detailed climate information

How the climate will change in the future is largely based on results from Global Climate Models; however, work on climate adaptation at regional and local levels requires much more detailed information. Providing climate information at this scale is therefore vitally important.

‘Knowledge of climate impacts and adaptation to climate change is necessary in the face of a changing climate. The UN climate panel, the IPCC, has pointed to the need for detailed regional climate information for all populated areas of the world. They have identified a shortage of this type of information in many developing countries, which are often most vulnerable to a changing climate’, says Erik Kjellström, Director of SMHI’s climate research unit, the Rossby Centre.

Knowledge exchange and capacity building

An important element of the CORDEX initiative is to promote education and knowledge-building in developing countries. This is achieved by supporting climate scientists, but also by ensuring dialogue and knowledge exchange takes place between researchers, government officials, politicians and other decision-making groups.

‘For many years we have been at the forefront of development of regional climate models, and we have helped drive CORDEX forward. As host of the International Project Office for CORDEX (IPOC), we will now be able to continue this work, but in a more formal role’, says Erik Kjellström.

The IPOC will provide the strong global coordination, together with the appropriate administrative, scientific and technical support, to respond to CORDEX’s expanding worldwide activities. It is expected to start its work in early 2015.