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Spotlight

Reports about scientific research projects being carried out on the high performance computing systems of DKRZ.

Linking global climate and regional air quality with MECO(n)

Anthropogenic and natural emissions of several trace gases like nitrogen dioxide and volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, as well as particle emissions have an effect on both air quality and global climate. Not all trace species have a climate impact, however, they are chemical precursors for the development of tropospheric ozone, which in turn is radiatively active.

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Regional Climate Projections for Europe

Global climate change has different regional impacts; its effects are already noticeable today. Mankind will need to adapt to those future changes. To investigate possible regional climate changes in Europe in the 21. Century and to develop adaption strategies, regional climate simulations are performed. The Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS) is involved in the development of various models and methods to provide local climate change information. The simulated model results are stored at the DKRZ and can be downloaded from there through the ESGF (esgf-data.dkrz.de). DKRZ and GERICS have jointly produced animated visualizations showing the projected key changes in temperature and precipitation for Europe during the 21. Century.

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What will the next winter be like?

Using a completely new method, the quality of seasonal forecasts for winter can be significantly improved for many parts of Europe. So far, useful predictions have been made especially for the tropics. A team around Dr. Mikhail Dobrynin and Prof. Dr. Johanna Baehr from the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) of the University of Hamburg has published the results in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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Project Retrograde — imagine Earth rotated in the opposite direction

The rotation of Earth shapes our climate system in various ways: It controls the major wind directions, lets the weather systems swirl, and, together with the topography, it creates strong ocean currents. Many other features of the climate system, like the monsoon systems and the meridional overturning circulation in the ocean arise from complex interactions within the climate system, and their exact dependency on the topography is hard to pinpoint.

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Simulating past warm climates: Resolution matters

Aiming at more accurate simulation of physical processes on the local scale, models with higher grid resolution are increasingly being developed. Results of low-resolution models are now complemented by higher-resolved simulations and are often compared with each other in model intercomparison studies like the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP) (e.g., Braconnot et al., 2012). The dependence of regional and global climate dynamics on grid resolution is therefore of particular interest in numerical simulations.

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Two petabytes of data for climate research: The consortia project ESCiMo (Earth System Chemistry integrated Modelling)

A profound understanding of the processes contributing to climate change is an important precondition for developing sustainable future strategies. The successfully completed comprehensive global climate simulations with the Chemistry-Climate model EMAC (ECHAM/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry; Jöckel et al., 2016) provide an important contribution to this understanding. For the period from 1950 until 2100, both the historical evolution of the atmosphere including its chemical processes as well as scenarios of future developments of the global climate were simulated on the supercomputer of the German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ). The climate data resulting from the model simulations comprise more than two petabytes and will soon be made available to the scientific community.

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Impact of air pollution on human health

Every year 3.3 million people die prematurely from the effects of air pollution worldwide - a figure that could double by 2050 if emissions continued to rise at the current rate. However, large efforts have been made in recent years to reduce air pollution over Europe and the USA using stringent regulation. The project will help to estimate the importance of air quality worldwide in terms of human health.

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Global high-resolution climate reconstructions

In order to analyze changes of extreme events like, for instance, storms, long and homogeneous time series of weather data are essential. A new global simulation computed with the climate model ECHAM6 provides temporally and spatially highly resolved data for the past decades. Preliminary analyses show, that global circulation systems like the North Atlantic Oscillation or the Indian Monsoon can be simulated realistically. Regional weather phenomena are often better reproduced than in global reanalysis data, which mostly feature low spatial resolutions and only 6-hourly data. Considering the high resolution, this global data set may provide an alternative to regional climate simulations, and may be used to study global climate relationships.

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HD(CP)² - Clouds and Precipitation in the climate system

The question whether climate change is man-made is discussed in public for a long time. To assess this more accurately and to evaluate future consequences more reliably, it is necessary to understand the underlying physical processes in greater detail. Processes that are linked to the formation of clouds and development of precipitation play an important role within the climate system. Global and regional distribution of clouds and precipitation determine which regions are habitable and which are not, where agriculture can be successful and where not. For answering such questions, the overall target of the BMBF project HD(CP)² is improving the general understanding of cloud and precipitation processes and implications for climate projections.

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MiKlip – advancing decadal climate prediction research

The MiKlip project (short for “decadal climate predictions”) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and pursues research on predicting natural and human-induced climate variability on a time scale of up to 10 years. MiKlip aims at the establishment of an operational decadal climate prediction system. Originally funded for a four-year period, the project has been extended into a second phase, starting now, of three years of additional research, plus one further year for the operational implementation.

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REACT4C – Reducing emissions from aviation by changing trajectories for the benefit of climate

Air transportation has an important role in international mobility. However, it also alters the atmospheric composition and thereby contributes to climate change.

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WASCAL – Regional Climate Simulations for West Africa

Global climate change is clearly noticeable at regional scales as well, and is one of the main challenges in West Africa in the 21st century. Countries in this region need to develop effective adaptation and mitigation strategies to counteract the negative effects of land use changes and of climate change on the population and on the environment, as, for example, on the hydro-meteorological variability. WASCAL is a research-oriented project aimed at deriving solutions for these challenges. A team of climate modellers in Germany and West Africa is developing a regional climate modelling system (“dynamical downscaling” of global modelling results) specifically for Northwest Africa.

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