Project

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Towards kilometer-scale climate change scenarios

Applicant Schär Christoph
Number 132614
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.01.2011 - 31.10.2014
Approved amount 314'896.00
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Keywords (9)

cloud-resolving climate modeling; climate change; hydrological cycle; atmospheric convection; Alps; water cycle; Europe; regional climate model; cloud-resolving convection

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Climate change is one of the most pressing social and economic issues currently facing humankind. The provision of accurate projections of future climate at regional scales, including changes in the hydrological cycle and the frequency and intensity of extreme events, is crucial for society. Yet, large uncertainties remain for European climate change scenarios, in particular during the summer season and for regions of complex topography such as the European Alps. Many of these uncertainties are related to aspects of the hydrological cycle at regional scales and its representation in global and regional climate models.In the current project we develop a high-resolution cloud-resolving climate modeling capability and use it to undertake a detailed study of the hydrological cycle and its response to climate change in the greater Alpine region. The specific aims are (1) to develop a cloud-resolving regional climate modeling capability and thereby to provide an attractive tool for the investigation of regional-scale climate processes and feedbacks, (2) to improve the understanding of the water cycle at regional scales and the associated feedback processes relating to the European summer climate and their representation in regional climate models, (3) to apply the cloud-resolving climate model to the production of first cloud-resolving climate change scenario runs for the greater Alpine region, (4) to evaluate the cloud-resolving climate model against high-resolution observational datasets and to compare it to lower-resolution climate simulations. Results from the study will be useful for an improved assessment of the hydrological cycle in the greater Alpine region and its response to climate change.The extended Alpine domain will cover an area of about 1100x1100 km with a horizontal resolution of 2.2 km. The scenario runs would constitute a unique contribution to the regional modeling efforts within and around international and national climate scenario activities. The simulations would resolve small-scale phenomena, such as thunderstorms, fine-scale topography and land-surface forcing and their interactions with the large-scale atmospheric flow, which together form key ingredients of atmospheric and hydrologic processes in the greater Alpine region. In the medium term, this will allow a more reliable assessment of changes in extremes, including heavy precipitation, droughts, and summer heat waves. The recent emergence of a rapidly growing climate impact research community (e.g. NFP61) also demonstrates, that there is an urgent need for such high-resolution climate scenarios.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Enhanced summer convective rainfall at Alpine high elevations in response to climate warming
Giorgi F. C. Torma E. Coppola N. Ban C. Schär S. Somot (2016), Enhanced summer convective rainfall at Alpine high elevations in response to climate warming, in Nature Geoscience, 9(8), 584-589.
Percentile indices for assessing changes in heavy precipitation events
Schär C. N. Ban E.M. Fischer J. Rajczak J. Schmidli C. Frei F. Giorgi T.R. Karl E.J. Kendon (2016), Percentile indices for assessing changes in heavy precipitation events, in Springer Verlag , 137(1), 201-216.
Heavy precipitation in a changing climate: Does short-term summer precipitation increase faster?
Ban Nikolina (2015), Heavy precipitation in a changing climate: Does short-term summer precipitation increase faster?, in Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 1165-1172.
Impact of topography on the diurnal cycle of summertime moist convection in idealized simulations
Hassanzadeh H., J. Schmidli, W. Langhans, L. Schlemmer, C. Schär (2015), Impact of topography on the diurnal cycle of summertime moist convection in idealized simulations, in Met. Z., 25(2), 181-194.
Evaluation of the convection-resolving regional climate modeling approach in decade-long simulations
Ban Nikolina, Schmidli Juerg, Schaer Christoph (2014), Evaluation of the convection-resolving regional climate modeling approach in decade-long simulations, in JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 119(13), 7889-7907.
Influence of the background wind on the local soil moisture-precipitation feedback
Froidevaux Paul (2014), Influence of the background wind on the local soil moisture-precipitation feedback, in J. Atmos. Sci., 71, 782-799.
Daytime heat transfer processes over mountainous terrain
Schmidli J. (2013), Daytime heat transfer processes over mountainous terrain, in J. Atmos. Sci., 70, 4041-4066.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
COSMO-CLM Community Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
MeteoSwiss Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
German Weather Service (DWD) Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2014 Talk given at a conference Convection and the Soil-Moisture Precipitation Feedback 15.12.2014 San Francisco, United States of America Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg;
AGU Fall meeting 2014 Talk given at a conference Convection-resolving climate change simulations: Intensification of heavy hourly precipitation events 15.12.2014 San Francisco, CA, United States of America Schmidli Jürg; Ban Nikolina; Schär Christoph;
COSMO User Workshop Zürich 2014 Talk given at a conference Convection-resolving climate change simulations: Short-term summer precipitation extremes in a changing climate 03.12.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Schmidli Jürg; Ban Nikolina; Schär Christoph;
ZHydro seminar Zurich 2014 Talk given at a conference Projections of Heavy Hourly Precipitation Events in Convection-Resolving Climate Simulations 12.11.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Schär Christoph; Ban Nikolina; Schmidli Jürg;
Seminar Reading University (invited) Individual talk Towards convection-resolving climate simulations 20.10.2014 Reading, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Schär Christoph;
16th Conference on Mountain Meteorology 2014 Talk given at a conference Far- and near-field influence of a mesoscale mountain on the diurnal cycle of summertime moist convection 18.08.2014 San Diego , United States of America Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
16th Conference on Mountain Meteorology Talk given at a conference Accuracy of simulated diurnal valley winds in the Swiss Alps: Influence of grid resolution and land surface characteristics 18.08.2014 San Diego, United States of America Schmidli Jürg;
LATSIS Symposium 2014 Poster Influence of the background wind on the local soil moisture-precipitation feedback 16.06.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
3rd International Lund Regional-Scale Climate Modelling Workshop Poster Cloud-resolving regional climate modeling approach in decade-long simulations 16.06.2014 Lund, Sweden Schmidli Jürg; Ban Nikolina; Schär Christoph;
EGU General Assembly 2014 Talk given at a conference Convection-resolving regional climate modeling approach in decade-long simulations 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Ban Nikolina; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
Urban Physics Autumn School 2013 Talk given at a conference Diurnal cycle of the precipitation and moist convection over topography 13.10.2013 Elina Nikitis, Greece Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg;
Urban Physics Autumn School 2013 Talk given at a conference Climate Change (invited) 07.10.2013 Elina Nikitis, Greece Schär Christoph;
12th International Swiss Climate Summer School 2013 Poster Influence of topography on the diurnal cycle of moist convection and precipitation, 01.09.2013 Grindelwald, Switzerland Schär Christoph; Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg;
ICAM 2013 - International Conference on Alpine Meteorology Talk given at a conference Evaluation of a 10-year cloud-resolving climate simulation for the greater Alpine region 03.06.2013 Kranjska Gora, Croatia Ban Nikolina; Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg;
ICAM 2013 - International Conference on Alpine Meteorology Talk given at a conference Influence of topography on the diurnal cycle of summertime moist convection over its near-and far-field regions 03.06.2013 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
ICAM 2013 - International Conference on Alpine Meteorology Talk given at a conference Influence of topography on the diurnal cycle of summertime convection over its near- and far-field regions 03.06.2013 Kranjska Gora, Croatia Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
EGU General Assembly 2013 Talk given at a conference Bulk convergence of cloud-resolving simulations of diurnal moist convection over complex terrain 07.04.2013 Vienna, Austria Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
COSMO/CLM User seminar 2013 Talk given at a conference Evaluation of a 10-year cloud-resolving climate simulation driven by ERA-Interim 05.03.2013 Offenbach, Germany Ban Nikolina; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
RCM workshop 2013, ETH Zürich Talk given at a conference Idealized studies of summertime moist convection over topography 04.02.2013 Zürich, Switzerland Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg; Hassanzadeh Hanieh;
Frontiers in Computational Physics: Modeling the Earth System Talk given at a conference Cloud-resolving climate change scenarios: Challenges and first results 16.12.2012 Boulder, CO, United States of America Ban Nikolina; Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg;
NRL seminar (invited) Individual talk Moist convection, mountain circulations and exchange over complex terrain 11.12.2012 Monterey, California, United States of America Schmidli Jürg;
AGU Fall meting 2012 Talk given at a conference Evaluation of a 10-year cloud-resolving climate simulation driven by ERA-Interim 03.12.2012 San Francisco, California, USA, United States of America Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg; Ban Nikolina;
Seminar Yale University (invited) Individual talk Heatwaves in a changing climate 26.11.2012 New Haven, CT, USA, United States of America Schär Christoph;
10th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Mountain size and atmospheric conditions impact on the diurnal cycle of clouds and precipitation 16.11.2012 Bern, Switzerland Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
10th Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2012 Talk given at a conference Mountain size and atmospheric Conditions' Impact on the diurnal Cycle of Clouds and Precipitation 16.11.2012 Bern, Switzerland Schär Christoph; Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg;
COSMO User Workshop 2012, ETH Zürich Talk given at a conference Idealized studies of summertime moist convection over topography 01.11.2012 Zürich, Switzerland Schmidli Jürg; Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schär Christoph;
Group meeting ETH Individual talk Influence of the terrain on diurnal equilibrium of moist convection 22.10.2012 Zürich, Switzerland, Switzerland Hassanzadeh Hanieh;
7th CLM-Community Assembly Talk given at a conference Sensitivity of diurnal cycle of moist convection to terrain geometry and atmospheric condition 17.09.2012 Leuven, Belgium Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg; Hassanzadeh Hanieh;
11th NCCR Climate Summer School 2012 Poster Evaluation of the Cloud-resolving climate simulation driven by the ERA-Interim 09.09.2012 Monte Verità, Switzerland, Switzerland Ban Nikolina;
11th NCCR Climate Summer School 2012 Poster How does topography size affect the diurnal cycle of clouds and precipitation? 09.09.2012 Monte Verita, Switzerland, Switzerland Schär Christoph; Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg;
International Workshop on Cloud-Resolving Global Modelling Talk given at a conference Do cloud-resolving climate models converge? (invited) 13.06.2012 Tegernsee, Germany, Germany Ban Nikolina; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
PhD retreat Poster Idealized studies of summertime moist convection over topography 01.06.2012 Tannenboden, Switzerland, Switzerland Schär Christoph; Hassanzadeh Hanieh; Schmidli Jürg;
EGU General Assembly 2012 Poster Influence of topography and wind speed on the diurnal cycle of moist convection in an Idealized framework 22.04.2012 Vienna, Austria Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg; Hassanzadeh Hanieh;
EGU General Assembly 2012 Poster Evaluation of the cloud-resolving climate simulation driven by the ERA-Interim 22.04.2012 Vienna, Austria, Austria Ban Nikolina; Schmidli Jürg; Schär Christoph;
International Space Science Institute (ISSI) Individual talk Extreme events: potential and limitations of high-resolution climate models (invited) 06.02.2012 Bern, Switzerland Schär Christoph;
Forschungskolloquium MeteoSchweiz Talk given at a conference Towards cloud-resolving climate modeling 29.11.2011 Zurich, Switzerland Schär Christoph;
CLM Community Assembly Poster Preliminary results of the cloud-resolving climate simulations for the greater Alpine region 30.08.2011 Salerno, Italy, Italy Egloff Lukas; Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg; Ban Nikolina;
C2SM Symposium: The Water Cycle in a Changing Climate, Zürich, 2013 Talk given at a conference Evaluation of the cloud-resolving climate model approach (invited) 01.07.2011 Zürich, Switzerland Schär Christoph; Schmidli Jürg; Ban Nikolina;
Summer school, Regional Climate Dynamics in the Mediterranean Individual talk Extreme events in a Changing Climate (invited) 20.06.2011 Valsavarenche, Val d'Aosta, Italy, France Schär Christoph;
Seminar presentation (invited) Individual talk The European water cycle in a changing climate - status and perspectives 14.04.2011 Frankfurt am Main, Germany Schär Christoph;
Seminar Presentation (invited) Individual talk Diurnal mountain circulations and heat exchange over complex terrain 24.01.2011 Graz Austria, Austria Schmidli Jürg;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
IPCC - Presentation of Results Talk 04.10.2013 Vienna, Austria Schär Christoph;
IPCC - Presentation of results Talk 30.09.2013 Berne, Switzerland Schär Christoph;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
The New Swiss Climate Change Scenarios (CH2011) 28.09.2011 Zurich, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Der Sommer lässt es krachen Sonntags Zeitung German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Mehr Sturzfluten in den Alpen? NZZ German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Summer storms and heavy rainfall in the future climate CSCS International 2015

Awards

Title Year
Best Student's oral presentation in the 32th International Conference on Alpine Meteorology, Slovenia 2013
Best Student's poster presentation at the 32th International Conference on Alpine Meteorology, Slovenia 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
128643 NCCR Climate: Climate variability, predictability and climate risks (phase III) 01.04.2009 National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs)
154486 Cloud-resolving climate modeling on future supercomputing platforms 01.05.2015 Sinergia

Abstract

Climate change is one of the most pressing social and economic issues currently facing humankind. The provision of accurate projections of future climate at regional scales, including changes in the hydrological cycle and the frequency and intensity of extreme events, is crucial for society. Yet, large uncertainties remain for European climate change scenarios, in particular during the summer season and for regions of complex topography such as the European Alps. Many of these uncertainties are related to aspects of the hydrological cycle at regional scales and its representation in global and regional climate models. Here we propose to develop a high-resolution cloud-resolving climate modeling capability and to use it to undertake a detailed study of hydrological cycle and its response to climate change in the greater Alpine region. The specific aims are (1) to develop a cloud-resolving regional climate modeling capability and thereby to provide an attractive tool for the investigation of regional-scale climate processes and feedbacks, (2) to improve the understanding of the water cycle at regional scales and the associated feedback processes relating to the European summer climate and their representation in regional climate models, (3) to apply the cloud-resolving climate model to the production of first cloud-resolving climate change scenario runs for the greater Alpine region, (4) to evaluate the cloud-resolving climate model against high-resolution observational datasets and to compare it to climate simulations using parameterized convection. Results from the study will be useful for an improved assessment of the hydrological cycle in the greater Alpine region and its response to climate change.The study is partitioned into two parts and designed to yield two self-contained PhD themes, each dedicated to specific goals. Part A is dedicated to conducting long-term climate simulations at cloud-resolving scales for current and future climates and to investigating the hydrological cycle in the greater Alpine region and its future changes. The simulations will be conducted with the non-hydrostatic compressible COSMO/CLM model for an extended Alpine domain at 2.2 km resolution. Part B is dedicated to the analysis of summertime moist convection over topography in an idealized context, in order to improve the understanding of the physical feedback processes relating to the European summer climate. The work will build on our groups expertise in regional climate modeling and extend previous case-study and process-oriented studies that have been conducted with cloud-resolving models.
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