Advanced, high-fidelity models

The concept of model fidelity* is central to PRIMAVERA, and its foundations are in understanding processes.

It is clear that many of the most pressing questions about regional climate change urgently require advances in the simulation of processes. For example:

  • To what extent are recent heat waves, floods and droughts in Europe attributable to natural variability or human influences on the global climate system?
  • How will the risk of such high impact events change over the next few decades and beyond?

The extent to which it is possible to provide robust answers to these questions relies fundamentally on the fidelity of the climate models that are used to address them. However, fidelity is insufficient in itself: we must be able to  justify why a particular model produces a particular prediction at the process level.

* In this context, fidelity expresses the accuracy with which a numerical simulation captures the behaviour of the real world.

Climate processes and high-resolution Global Climate Models (GCMs)

Many years of experience, first in numerical weather prediction and, equally albeit only recently, in climate
simulation, have demonstrated that advances in the explicit simulation of key processes are essential to achieving
sustained progress and to provide robust answers.

High-resolution has been identified as one essential element of the development of GCMs to reproduce key climate processes with higher fidelity than conventional GCMs, thus enabling detailed process understanding.

Objectives in detail

The objectives of PRIMAVERA are shown in the table below along with the key work packages leading the work to address them.

The objectives of PRIMAVERA along with the project's key work packages tackling them.
ObjectiveKey work packages
a To develop a new generation of global high-resolution climate models WP3, WP4, WP6
b To develop new strategies and tools for evaluating global high-resolution climate models at a process level, and for quantifying the uncertainties in the predictions of regional climate WP1, WP2, WP5, WP9, WP10
c To provide new high-resolution protocols and flagship simulations for the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), to inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and in support of emerging Climate Services WP4, WP5, WP9
d To explore the scientific and technological frontiers of capability in global climate modelling to provide guidance for the development of future generations of prediction systems, global climate and Earth System models (informing post-CMIP6 and beyond) WP3, WP4
e To advance understanding of past and future, natural and anthropogenic, drivers of variability and changes in European climate, including high impact events, by exploiting new capabilities in high-resolution global climate modelling WP1, WP2, WP5
f To produce new, more robust and trustworthy projections of European climate for the next few decades based on improved global models and advances in process understanding WP2, WP3, WP5, WP6, WP10
g To engage with targeted end-user groups in key European economic sectors to strengthen their competitiveness, growth, resilience and ability by exploiting new scientific progress WP10, WP11
h To establish cooperation between science and policy actions at European and international level, to support the development of effective climate change policies, optimize public decision making and increase capability to manage climate risks WP5, WP8, WP10