Next Generation Weather & Climate Prediction (NGWCP)

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The Next Generation Weather & Climate Prediction Programme (NGWCP) is a major programme developed in partnership with the Met Office and the Science & Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Hartree Centre.

The programme addresses key areas where scientific and technological advances offer opportunities to maintain UK leadership in environmental prediction.

Technical developments in computing and in global scale observations create an environment of enormous opportunity for improving capabilities for weather and climate prediction, but there are major scientific and technical barriers to realizing this potential.

This programme aims to addresses two key areas where scientific and technological advances offer opportunities to maintain UK leadership in environmental prediction:

  • Goal A - Resolution of small scale weather systems in the atmosphere and ocean
  • Goal B - Use of observations to initialise climate predictions

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Technical developments in computing and in global scale observations create an environment of enormous opportunity for improving capabilities for weather and climate prediction, but there are major scientific and technical barriers to realizing this potential.

This programme aims to addresses two key areas where scientific and technological advances offer opportunities to maintain UK leadership in environmental prediction:

  • Goal A - Resolution of small scale weather systems in the atmosphere and ocean
  • Goal B - Use of observations to initialise climate predictions

Goal A

One issue requiring urgent attention is the selection of numerical algorithms currently used to simulate the atmosphere in climate prediction models.

Many of these algorithms are unable to take advantage of the additional processing power of massively parallel computers moving towards petascale and exascale resources.

The development of new algorithms involves research challenges in numerical and computational methods.

It is proposed that a consortium is created, between NERC, STFC and the Met Office to research, design, and develop a new atmospheric dynamical core for a next-generation weather and climate prediction system, to eventually replace the dynamical core of the Unified Model (UM), the principal UK tool for weather and climate prediction.

The corresponding issues for ocean models appear to be less immediately pressing, based on current understanding of needs.

However there is an important need to develop a longer term view based on the emerging scientific requirements for ocean modelling (eg integrated modelling of deep ocean and shelf processes), and a 'roadmap' of needs for massively parallel ocean modelling systems will be developed.

This programme is essential to ensuring that the UK has access to world class tools for climate prediction in the future.

Goal B

A second strand of this action supports research to develop and evaluate methods for initialization of climate predictions, addressing issues of coupled data assimilation and the design of ensembles.

For predictions of regional climate on seasonal to decadal timescales, much of the signal comes from internal variability of the system, rather than changes to anthropogenic forcing.

Hence climate predictions on these timescales inherently need to be initialised with the observed climate state.

The science of how to do this is at a very early stage of development and a number of fundamental questions must be answered in order to derive the most possible information from the available observations.

The development of properly initialized climate predictions is central to exploiting the opportunities to improve climate models and predictions that arise from the wealth of new observations from Earth-based and space-based platforms.

Timing

2010 - 2015

Can I apply for a grant?

The Goal B announcement of opportunity closed 6 April 2011.

Budget

It is proposed that this research programme will run for five years with NERC funding of £4·4 million.

Awards

For a list of awards made within the programme please visit Grants on the Web

View details of funded applications - external link

Next Generation Ocean Dynamical Core Roadmap

A team at the National Oceanography Centre have been funded to assess the development of ocean model dynamical cores required to meet operational and research needs on the timescale 2015-2025. This study produced a 'roadmap' that will inform strategic decisions about future ocean model development.

The project ran November 2010-February 2012 and involved a range of opportunities for interested stakeholders (both UK and International) to engage with the project and contribute to the roadmap.

The Ocean Roadmap report is available in the Reports & key findings section.

For further information please contact:

Jason Holt

Adrian New