About this research group
The global climate is interactive and highly complex system where its components (atmosphere, ocean cryosphere, land and biosphere) interact on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. We want to understand the key processes and dynamics controlling this system, how sensitive it is to various forcings and how this system has changed in the past, and how it may evolve in the future.
Global climate models are important tools in order to understand the climate system. However, although models are getting better many biases in simulated large-scale circulations still persist, and constitute a major source of uncertainty in long-term and near-term climate predictions. How can we contribute to reduce this uncertainty and what are the major challenges?
The range of natural variability within the global climate system is known to be large over periods as short as a few decades, especially on regional scales. The relative importance of intrinsic and external forcing factors, such as GHGs, aerosols, volcanoes and the Sun, is poorly understood and can be crucial for near-term climate prediction. Paleo reconstructions can be very useful in defining and constraining natural variability beyond the instrumental record. In this group we want to explore how such data can be combined with models to advance our understanding of natural variability in the climate system. We also want to contribute to further improvements of global scale climate models to help reduce uncertainties in long-term climate projections and near-term climate predictions.
There is strong evidence that global climate change is related to man-made increasing greenhouse gas levels. However, many uncertainties remain regarding the actual contribution of natural climate variability. The role of solar variability, in particular, is a topic of major scientific and societal importance. To what extent solar variability contributes to natural climate variability, and how a better understanding and quantification of this can reduce uncertainties of future anthropogenic climate change is still strongly, and sometimes very controversially, debated. Especially regional changes on seasonal and decadal time scales might be more influenced by the solar cycle than global mean temperatures. SOLENA aims to use a new generation of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models, with a fully chemically interactive middle atmosphere. For the first time in Norway, SOLENA brings together
a multidisciplinary team to address the role of the Sun in climate variability on seasonal, decadal and centennial time scales. SOLENA hence aims at gaining novel insights about the role of the Sun in influencing climate variability that may ultimately lead to improved decadal climate predictions, with special relevance for Northern Europe, the North Atlantic and the Arctic.
UNI-Persons involved: Odd Helge Otterå, Nazario Tartaglione, Thomas Toniazzo.
The joint Indo-Norwegian research project OCTEL will contribute to PAGES (Past Global
Changes) network in addressing past changes in the Earth System in a quantitative and processoriented way in order to improve predictions of future climate and environment. OCTEL aims to explore the ocean, sea-ice and atmosphere interactions both in the Southern Ocean and the northern North Atlantic in order to assess the manifestation of interhemispheric teleconnections and their influence on climate during last 11 700 years (the Holocene) with a special focus on the last 2 000 years. As our knowledge on these questions are still very limited, the project will employ synchronized high-resolution marine data along with ice core data from high latitudes to help narrow this knowledge-gap.
UNI-persons involved: Odd Helge Otterå
MEDEVAC aims to use a combination of climate models and reconstructions of past climate to study and better characterise the mechanisms of climate variability on decadal to centennial scales. In particular MEDEVAC seeks to improve our understanding of the so-called Bjerknes compensation for decadal to multidecadal climate variability. Another key focus of MEDEVAC has been to contribute to the development of unique high-resolution paleoclimatic proxy reconstructions for the last two millennia from both from land and ocean, with a special focus on the Atlantic/Arctic realm. A particular exciting prospect has been the use of sea shells from the Nordic Seas as an archive for past ocean climate changes. In a similar way as tree-rings on land, these shells can provide researchers with annually resolved marine climate reconstructions back throughout the last millennium.
UNI-persons involved: Odd Helge Otterå, Thomas Toniazzo, Carin Andersson Dahl, Fabian Bonitz.
In EVA, the Norwegian Earth system model (NorESM) as the main national facility for global climate studies will be further developed, extended, quality checked, and applied to key research questions in the field of climate science. In particular, NorESM2 will be established also for participation in key international assessments. NorESM experiments on drivers for climate variability will be carried out, and related feedbacks will be quantified addressing key uncertainties. Complex spatio-temporal structures of the climate system will be analysed including interactions between physical processes and biogeochemical cycles. The planned pre-industrial, historical, and future NorESM simulations together with observational evidence provide the foundation for discriminating between natural and human-induced climate variability.
Uni-persons involved: Mats Bentsen, Mehmet Ilicak, Ingo Bethke, Alok K. Gupta, Thomas Toniazzo, Jerry Tjiputra, Jörg Schwinger, Hanna Lee
Project page: https://bjerknes.uib.no/en/project/eva
The Infrastructure for Norwegian Earth System modeling (INES) project brings together institutions of the Norwegian climate research community, who in collaboration have established, maintained and upgraded the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) in the past decade. The objectives of INES are:
- Upgrade and maintain a cutting-edge and verified ESM suitable for the
national climate science community and participation in international model
- Provide an infrastructure for efficient model simulations, storage, analysis
and validation available for the national climate science community and
collaborating international groups.
- For efficient sharing of model data, provide an infrastructure that connects
to international data grids and ensures that model data complies with
established standards of the climate community.
INES will upgrade the infrastructure elements of the current national ESM activity. A decadal climate prediction system based on NorESM has been developed in parallel with the basic ESM system and the infrastructure aspects of these activities will be merged. National climate modelling is highly dependent on HPC and storage systems provided by UNINETT Sigma2 and INES will ensure continuous and efficient utilization of these systems.
Uni-persons involved: Mats Bentsen, Mehmet Ilicak, Thomas Toniazzo, Ingo Bethke, Alok K. Gupta, Jerry Tjiputra, Jörg Schwinger, Petra Langebroek, Hanna Lee