Research Headlines – Arctic models to inform North Hemisphere weather forecasts

What warming of the Arctic will mean for ecosystems and communities inside the Arctic and the Northern Hemisphere is uncertain. An EU-funded project aims to better describe, model and predict climate extremes in the region and to develop more accurate long-term forecast systems for the Northern Hemisphere.

© Alexander #15356288, 2019

The climate is changing more rapidly in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth. However, to fully understand what part the Arctic plays in the global climate and the generation of extreme weather events, better weather and climate models are needed.

The EU-funded BLUE-ACTION aims to develop better climate modelling and forecasting systems to enhance the safety and well-being of people living in the Arctic and Northern Hemisphere. Such improvements will also contribute to better servicing of the economic sectors in the Arctic, such as shipping and fishing, which rely on greater forecasting capacity.

Bringing together different fields of expertise, the project is using empirically grounded science, weather and risk-management research and stakeholder knowledge to understand and create better models of climatic weather extremes. Stakeholders include local communities, businesses operating in the Arctic, not-for-profit organisations and researchers.

BLUE-ACTION plans to improve the forecasting of extreme weather phenomena and thus to boost the capacity to respond to the impact of climate change on the environment and human activities in the Arctic. The researchers will also use new Earth-observation techniques to increase the uptake of measurements from satellites to deliver more accurate representations of Arctic warming and its impact on the atmosphere and ocean circulation.

Initially, lower-latitude oceanic atmospheric drivers will be analysed, then the project will investigate the Arctic’s impact on Northern Hemisphere climate and weather extremes to improve weather predictions.

The team will conduct five case studies with industry and organisations which rely on accurate weather and climate forecasting, in order to apply new modelling techniques to climate services. They include better planning for Northern Finland´s winter tourism ski centres; temperature-related mortality in Europe; extreme weather risks to maritime activities in the Nordic Seas; climate services for marine fisheries using oceanographic observing and modelling systems; and the emerging opportunities and associated risks of development scenarios in the Russian Arctic.

BLUE-ACTION´s scientific developments and improved modelling capacity will also be used to support evidence-based decision-making by policymakers worldwide.

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