PRIMAVERA (PRocess-based climate sIMulation: AdVances in high-resolution modelling and European climate Risk Assessments) is a Horizon2020 project funded by the European Commission. It began in November 2015 and runs until July 2020. The project is a collaboration between 19 European partners, led by the UK Met Office and Reading University. Its aim is to develop a new generation of advanced and well-evaluated high-resolution global climate models, capable of simulating and predicting regional climate with unprecedented fidelity, for the benefit of governments, business and society in general.
Until a few years ago, global climate models (GCMs) still had a relatively coarse spatial resolution (~100s of km), and higher-resolution information was obtained by downscaling the GCMs with regional climate models (RCMs) – typically ~25-50km resolution, but over a limited area of the Earth. PRIMAVERA is undertaking global modelling, but at the high resolutions previously associated with RCMs: a major challenge in terms of model setup, supercomputing resources, and data analysis. As such, the project will build on existing European research experience, for example using High Performance Computing developed in other projects (PRACE-UPSCALE, PRACE-HiResClim, Athena), coordinated via the IS-ENES2 project on climate and earth-system modelling infrastructure development.
PRIMAVERA aims to explore whether this combination of global modelling and high resolution adds value in terms of our understanding of key climate processes, such as those leading to high-impact weather events like heatwaves and windstorms. To this end, different institutions’ climate models are being run at lower and higher spatial resolutions, and results compared with each other and with observations. The PRIMAVERA models are also trialling other potential improvements, such as new model physics.
To determine whether climate change will result in more risks, especially accurate information on extremes is needed. Because high-impact weather affects economic sectors like energy and insurance, PRIMAVERA also involves user engagement work with stakeholders in these sectors, to explore how the added value in the modelling could be useful. For example, it appears that some of the PRIMAVERA models do a better job of representing key characteristics of European windstorms, which could be useful for the insurance sector, for whom the losses arising from European windstorm impacts are important.
A User Interface Platform (UIP) has been created to share relevant materials for users, including videos, presentations, fact sheets, and storymaps. The PRIMAVERA user engagement team has been participating in different arenas that provide space for collaboration and knowledge co-production between scientists and climate information users, such as conferences, (online) workshops, and science festivals.