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Past climate variability from an upper level perspective

English title Past climate variability from an upper level perspective
Applicant Brönnimann Stefan
Number 102731
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.08.2004 - 31.07.2008
Approved amount 1'375'358.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy

Keywords (7)

climate variability; climate change; climate dynamics; climate reconstruction; stratosphere; ozone; historical data

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The project aims at improving the current understanding of 20th centuryclimate variability, which is a prerequisite for assessing and predictingcurrent and future climate change. While climate variability during thesecond half of the 20th century has been studied extensively, relativelylittle is still known about the first half of the century, with its hugeclimatic variations such as the decade-long “Dust Bowl” droughts in theMidwest of the USA during the 1930s, the warming of the Arctic from 1920to 1945, or the global climate anomalies in the 1940s. One reason for thisis the lack of data above the Earth’s surface prior to 1948, inhibitingthe understanding of large-scale dynamical processes. Upper-air data wouldallow addressing important dynamical features such as the position of thejet streams, the planetary wave structure, or the strength of thestratospheric polar vortex. Historical upper-air data, obtained withballoons and aircraft, can still be found today on paper in variousmeteorological archives. In the proposed project a large amount of thesedata, covering the 1925 to 1948 period, will be digitised andre-evaluated. The upper-air data will be used to construct upper-levelmeteorological fields back to the 1920s using statistical methods. Inaddition, historical total ozone data will be re-evaluated. With thesenovel data sets, combined with available climate model simulations, thekey periods of early 20th century climate variability will be studied andthe dynamical processes will be addressed in the upper-level fields. Theseanalyses will provide new insights into the processes of large-scaleclimate coupling.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
120871 Past climate variability from an upper level perspective - Extension period 01.08.2008 SNSF Professorships