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

Project structure: 11 work packages

WP1: Development and application of metrics for process-based evaluation and projections

Lead: Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes (BSC — Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain)
Co-lead: Alessio Bellucci (CMCC Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Italy)


  • Develop process-based metrics to assess the impact of model improvements in the atmosphere (including those related to the changes in atmospheric composition), ocean, land, cryosphere, and the interactions between the different components, with special emphasis on the simulation of the European climate
  • Develop combinations of metrics to be used in order to improve climate models by using present-day performance to attempt to reduce uncertainty in climate projections

WP2: The added value of high-resolution in the atmosphere and ocean

Lead: Torben Koenigk (SMHI — Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Sweden)
Co-lead: Virginie Guemas (BSC — Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain)


  • Provide a systematic assessment of the benefits of simultaneously increased atmospheric and oceanic resolutions and increased atmospheric resolution only in global coupled climate models for processes affecting European climate and its variability
  • Evaluate the robustness of the response across the PRIMAVERA model ensemble and implications for future projections

WP3: The role of model physics

Lead: Cath Senior (Met Office, UK)
Sub work package 3A lead:
Nicolas Bellouin (University of Reading, UK)
Sub work package
3B lead: Matteo Zampieri (CMCC — Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Italy)

Sub work package 3C lead: Dorotea Iovino (CMCC — Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Italy)
Sub work package 3D lead: Adrian New (NERC — Natural Environment Research Council, UK)


  • Quantify the need for improved representation or levels of complexity of a range of physical processes within the atmosphere, ocean, land and sea ice in a high resolution environment
  • Develop and evaluate the impact of improved representations of key processes influencing European climate such as clouds and aerosols, land surface processes, Arctic sea ice and near-surface ocean mixing within the ensemble of high resolution simulations

WP4: Frontiers of climate modelling

Lead: Malcolm Roberts (Met Office, UK)
Co-lead: Jin-Song von Storch (MPG Max Planck Gesellschaft, Germany)


  • Develop the next generation of coupled models by exploring the concept of ‘Beyond simple parameterisation’ by testing different approaches to the representation of sub-gridscale processes
  • Assess the relative benefits and costs of each approach, and provide recommendations for future development

WP5: Drivers of variability and change in European climate

Lead: Laurent Terray (CERFACS  Centre Européen de Recherche et de Formation Avancée en Calcul Scientifique, France)
Co-lead: Rowan Sutton (University of Reading, UK)


  • Improve understanding of the key oceanic physical and dynamical drivers and mechanisms leading to decadal variability of European climate
  • Assess the influences of regional climate phenomena such as the summer Arctic sea ice decline and Siberian autumn snow cover reduction on the decadal variability of European climate
  • Quantify the respective influence of oceanic modes and anthropogenic direct radiative factors for both recent observed (1979-2014) and near-future (2015-2034) atmospheric and continental changes in European climate
  • Assess the robustness of European climate responses to the range of considered drivers to atmospheric and oceanic model resolution as well as physics

WP6: Flagship simulations

Lead: R. Haarsma (KNMI Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut, The Netherlands)
Co-lead: Johann Jungclaus (MPG Max Planck Gesellschaft, Germany)


  • To deliver the core PRIMAVERA flagship simulations at low and high resolution, both coupled and forced AMIP-style, conforming to the HighResMIP experimental design
  • Coordinate the delivery and availability of core model datasets and documentation to all partners with WP9

WP7: Project management

Leads: Malcolm Roberts and Paul van der Linden (Met Office, UK)
Co-lead: Pier Luigi Vidale (University of Reading, UK)


  • Establish and maintain top-level project management of PRIMAVERA to enable the objectives and impacts to be efficiently and effectively achieved on time and within the resources budgeted
  • Establish and maintain an effective working relationship between PRIMAVERA and the European Commission (EC), which includes regular reporting on project progress
  • Coordinate and facilitate effective relationships and coordination between partners within PRIMAVERA, including sharing of information associated with all project management aspects
  • Manage the gender dimensions of PRIMAVERA within the project content and gender balance within the consortium
  • Establish and coordinate the dissemination, exploitation and communication strategies for PRIMAVERA

WP8: Scientific coordination of PRIMAVERA

Lead: Pier Luigi Vidale (University of Reading, UK)
Co-lead: Malcolm Roberts (Met Office, UK)


  • Establish and maintain the scientific excellence and coordination of PRIMAVERA, to ensure that the scientific objectives and impacts of the project are achieved
  • Formulate high-level synthesis of scientific results and enable effective two-way PRIMAVERA knowledge exchange with the wider scientific community, Governments, and other target audiences
  • Ensure that the appropriate level of consultation with the External Expert Advisory Board (EEAB) is established and maintained, and that their advice is integrated into the project

WP9: HPC and data management

Lead: Matthew Mizielinski/David Hein/Jon Seddon (Met Office, UK)
Co-lead: Ag Stephens (STFC — Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK)


  • Produce a plan for the required HPC to cover the integrations needed by the whole project, on both national and potential PRACE resources
  • Produce and implement the Data Management Plan (DMP)
  • Support the implementation of the Plan for Dissemination and Exploitation of the Project Results, and oversee participation in the Open Research Data Pilot

WP10: Climate risk assessment

Lead: Ge Verver (KNMI Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut, The Netherlands)
Co-lead: David Brayshaw (University of Reading, UK)


  • Assess the representation of the physics and statistics of meteorological hazards (e.g. extreme and compound events) relevant to end-users in global high resolution climate model simulations
  • Develop scientifically based narratives as input for risk assessments related to extreme and compound meteorological events in Europe, as influenced by climate drivers, to inform the needs of end-users

WP11: User engagement and dissemination

Lead: Melanie Davis (BSC — Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain)
Co-lead: Erika Palin (Met Office, UK)


  • To advance the communication of scientific information needed to develop climate risk response strategies for European businesses, and thus strengthen their competitiveness and growth
  • To engage with end-user groups from key economic sectors, to exploit new capabilities in high-resolution global climate modelling and understanding with a focus on European climate, towards the development of improved climate services
  • To ensure the project outcomes are disseminated and communicated effectively to business sector end-users