Tag: langehaug

Impact of initialization methods on the predictive skill in NorCPM: an Arctic–Atlantic case study

Passos, L., Langehaug, HR., Årthun, M., Eldevik, T., Bethke, I., Kimmritz, M. 2022: Impact of initialization methods on the predictive skill in NorCPM: an Arctic–Atlantic case study. Clim Dyn. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-022-06437-4

Summary: The skilful prediction of climatic conditions on a forecast horizon of months to decades into the future remains a main scientific challenge of large societal benefit. Here we assess the hindcast skill of the Norwegian Climate Prediction Model (NorCPM) for sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) in the Arctic–Atlantic region focusing on the impact of different initialization methods. We find the skill to be distinctly larger for the Subpolar North Atlantic than for the Norwegian Sea, and generally for all lead years analyzed. For the Subpolar North Atlantic, there is furthermore consistent benefit in increasing the amount of data assimilated, and also in updating the sea ice based on SST with strongly coupled data assimilation. The predictive skill is furthermore significant for at least two model versions up to 8–10 lead years with the exception for SSS at the longer lead years. For the Norwegian Sea, significant predictive skill is more rare; there is relatively higher skill with respect to SSS than for SST. A systematic benefit from more complex data assimilation approach can not be identified for this region. Somewhat surprisingly, skill deteriorates quite consistently for both the Subpolar North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea when going from CMIP5 to corresponding CMIP6 versions. We find this to relate to change in the regional performance of the underlying physical model that dominates the benefit from initialization.

Link to publication. You are most welcome to contact us or the corresponding author(s) directly, if you have questions.

Propagation of Thermohaline Anomalies and Their Predictive Potential along the Atlantic Water Pathway

Langehaug, H. R., Ortega, P., Counillon, F., Matei, D., Maroon, E., Keenlyside, N., Mignot, J., Wang, Y., Swingedouw, D., Bethke, I., Yang, S., Danabasoglu, G., Bellucci, A., Ruggieri, P., Nicolì, D., Årthun, M. 2022: Propagation of Thermohaline Anomalies and Their Predictive Potential along the Atlantic Water Pathway. J Clim. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-022-01523-x

Summary: In this study, we find that dynamical prediction systems and their respective climate models struggle to realistically represent ocean surface temperature variability in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic and Nordic seas on interannual-to-decadal time scales. In previous studies, ocean advection is proposed as a key mechanism in propagating temperature anomalies along the Atlantic water pathway toward the Arctic Ocean. Our analysis suggests that the predicted temperature anomalies are not properly circulated to the north; this is a result of model errors that seems to be exacerbated by the effect of initialization shocks and forecast drift. Better climate predictions in the study region will thus require improving the initialization step, as well as enhancing process representation in the climate models.

Link to publication. You are most welcome to contact us or the corresponding author(s) directly, if you have questions.

Dr. Helene Langehaug explains our work to the Norwegian Minister for Climate and the Environment

Photo by Gudrun Sylte

On January 31st 2022, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research received Espen Barth Eide, our minister for Climate and the Environment, for a visit. On this occasion, Dr. Helene Langehaug gave a talk about the role of the ocean in improving climate predictions, which is a crucial aspect the Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit’s research work, towards improving predictions from seasons to several years ahead.
Find out more about our research areas and results, or just get in touch with our team.

NorCPM1 and its contribution to CMIP6 DCPP

Bethke, I., Wang, Y., Counillon, F., Keenlyside, N., Kimmritz, M., Fransner, F., Samuelsen, A., Langehaug, H., Svendsen, L., Chiu, P.-G., Passos, L., Bentsen, M., Guo, C., Gupta, A., Tjiputra, J., Kirkevåg, A., Olivié, D., Seland, Ø., Solsvik Vågane, J., Fan, Y., Eldevik, T. 2021: NorCPM1 and its contribution to CMIP6 DCPP. Geosci Model Dev. https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-14-7073-2021 .

For an easy-to-understand overview, we recommend starting with this neat article written by the Climate Futures team, a project connected to BCPU: “New Study: Decadal Climate Forecasts From The Norwegian Climate Prediction Model” (les heller på norsk).

Summary: The Norwegian Climate Prediction Model version 1 (NorCPM1) is a new research tool for performing climate reanalyses and seasonal-to-decadal climate predictions. It combines the Norwegian Earth System Model version 1 (NorESM1) – which features interactive aerosol–cloud schemes and an isopycnic-coordinate ocean component with biogeochemistry – with anomaly assimilation of sea surface temperature (SST) and -profile observations using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF).

We describe the Earth system component and the data assimilation (DA) scheme, highlighting implementation of new forcings, bug fixes, retuning and DA innovations. Notably, NorCPM1 uses two anomaly assimilation variants to assess the impact of sea ice initialization and climatological reference period: the first (i1) uses a 1980–2010 reference climatology for computing anomalies and the DA only updates the physical ocean state; the second (i2) uses a 1950–2010 reference climatology and additionally updates the sea ice state via strongly coupled DA of ocean observations.

We assess the baseline, reanalysis and prediction performance with output contributed to the Decadal Climate Prediction Project (DCPP) as part of the sixth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). The NorESM1 simulations exhibit a moderate historical global surface temperature evolution and tropical climate variability characteristics that compare favourably with observations. The climate biases of NorESM1 using CMIP6 external forcings are comparable to, or slightly larger than those of, the original NorESM1 CMIP5 model, with positive biases in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) strength and Arctic sea ice thickness, too-cold subtropical oceans and northern continents, and a too-warm North Atlantic and Southern Ocean. The biases in the assimilation experiments are mostly unchanged, except for a reduced sea ice thickness bias in i2 caused by the assimilation update of sea ice, generally confirming that the anomaly assimilation synchronizes variability without changing the climatology. The i1 and i2 reanalysis/hindcast products overall show comparable performance. The benefits of DA-assisted initialization are seen globally in the first year of the prediction over a range of variables, also in the atmosphere and over land. External forcings are the primary source of multiyear skills, while added benefit from initialization is demonstrated for the subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA) and its extension to the Arctic, and also for temperature over land if the forced signal is removed. Both products show limited success in constraining and predicting unforced surface ocean biogeochemistry variability. However, observational uncertainties and short temporal coverage make biogeochemistry evaluation uncertain, and potential predictability is found to be high. For physical climate prediction, i2 performs marginally better than i1 for a range of variables, especially in the SPNA and in the vicinity of sea ice, with notably improved sea level variability of the Southern Ocean. Despite similar skills, i1 and i2 feature very different drift behaviours, mainly due to their use of different climatologies in DA; i2 exhibits an anomalously strong AMOC that leads to forecast drift with unrealistic warming in the SPNA, whereas i1 exhibits a weaker AMOC that leads to unrealistic cooling. In polar regions, the reduction in climatological ice thickness in i2 causes additional forecast drift as the ice grows back. Posteriori lead-dependent drift correction removes most hindcast differences; applications should therefore benefit from combining the two products.

The results confirm that the large-scale ocean circulation exerts strong control on North Atlantic temperature variability, implying predictive potential from better synchronization of circulation variability. Future development will therefore focus on improving the representation of mean state and variability of AMOC and its initialization, in addition to upgrades of the atmospheric component. Other efforts will be directed to refining the anomaly assimilation scheme – to better separate internal and forced signals, to include land and atmosphere initialization and new observational types – and improving biogeochemistry prediction capability. Combined with other systems, NorCPM1 may already contribute to skilful multiyear climate prediction that benefits society.

Link to publication. You are most welcome to contact us or the corresponding author(s) directly, if you have questions.

New EASAC report: “A Sea of Change”

Translated from the Norwegian press release at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research

Tor Eldevik leads EASAC report, “A sea of change: Europe’s future in the Atlantic realm”.

In the report an international panel of experts goes through the changes seen until now in the Atlantic Ocean, and what we can expect of climate change. But there is also a potential in being the closest neighbour to our western ocean.

The report is published by EASAC, the European science academy advisory council. The panel of experts is led by Tor Eldevik, Professor at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, and Deputy Leader in the BCPU.

A potential in climate prediction

The report shows how fluctuations and trends in the Atlantic Ocean affects the climate in Europe and both the environment and resources in the ocean and on land.

“The report is very clear about future climatic risks, but equally focuses on the future benefits we can harvest from better understanding of the relations between the state of the Atlantic and climatic conditions over Europe that affects everything from the supply of renewable energy to fisheries,” says Tor Eldevik.

He emphasises how this knowledge can be used far better than it is now. Climate predictions developed today have the potential to predict cod movements between years, including movements out of Norwegian fisheries sectors.

To power companies the knowledge of how westerlies in the Atlantic Ocean (NAO index) affect Norwegian hydro power production can also be useful.

Figurtekst: Norsk vasskraftproduksjon svinger saman med vestavindsbeltet i Atlanterhavet, slik tidlegare vist av Helene Asbjørnsen og Noel Keenlyside UiB og Bjerknessenteret. Vasskraftdata frå SSB, styrke på vestavind vinterstid (NAO-indeks) frå climatedataguide.ucar.edu
Figure 4.1 Norwegian hydropower production swings with the westerly winds (wintertime NAO; variance explained 40%). (Source: H. Asbjørnsen and N. Keenlyside, University of Bergen / Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit; power production and NAO data from https://www.ssb.no/en/statbank/table/08307 and https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/hurrell-north-atlanticoscillation-nao-index-station-based, respectively.)

Climate risk

Tor Eldevik points out how future changes in the ocean are connected to how successful we are at mitigating global warming.

“If we succeed in keeping the average warming to 1.5°C, then Antarctica may continue melting at current rates; but overshooting the 2 °C Paris Agreement target towards 3°C may lead to Antarctic melt alone add 0.5 cm a year by 2100,” he says.

Sea level rise have regional differences, but to the many million people living by the North Sea Basin, accounting for a meter rise in sea level.

Cities along the coast of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Great Britain will be affected greatly.

Figure 2.5 The North Sea coastline with +1 m of global SLR with the flooded areas in blue. Major population centres are marked in circles. (Source: https://sealevel.climatecentral.org/maps/.)
Figure 2.5 The North Sea coastline with +1 m of global SLR with the flooded areas in blue. Major population centres are marked in circles. (Source: https://sealevel.climatecentral.org/maps/.)

Central points in the report

  • Sea level rise
    On average, the sea level has risen 11-16 centimeters in the twentieth century.
    Europe must prepare for up to one meter sea level rise by 2100. Storm surges on a level we now expect every 100 years, could be yearly by 2100 if CO2 emissions continues as today. Ice melts on Greenland and the Antarctic contributes to sea level rise, as well as glacial metling in warmer areas and sea water expanding with heat. There is uncertainty linked to melting on Greenland and the Antarctic which needs to be followed closely.
  • Renewable energy
    Wind, weather and precipitation over Europe, and especially the Norwegian coast, kan be linked to the ocean. The strength of the Gulf Stream and the westerlies over the Atlantic Ocean affects the severity of wind and precipication over Europe, including the Norwegian coast. This knowledge is critical to predict climate fluctuations for the coming years and seasons – which in Norway is especially useful to power companies, both wind and hydro energy production.
  • Ocean acidification
    Temperature increases leads to fish stocks moving, uptake of CO2 makes the ocean more acidic, which changes the living conditions for life in the ocean. If the current emissions of climate gases is kept up, we will reach a level in 2100 that is uninhabitable.
  • Ocean circulation, ocean streams and the Gulf Stream giving us a milder climate
    Speculations that the Gulf Stream will stop are excessive. But the Gulf Stream strength are connected to climate in Europe and Norway. A decline in heat transportation of 20% is expected further South in the Atlantic this century, but as far North as Norway we are likely to see an increase in the stream and a continued heating of the ocean.

Read the report with EASAC



Mechanisms of decadal North Atlantic climate variability and implications for the recent cold anomaly

Arthun, M., Wills, R. C. J., Johnson, H. L., Chafik, L., Langehaug, H. R. 2020: Mechanisms of decadal North Atlantic climate variability and implications for the recent cold anomaly. J Clim, 1-52. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-20-0464.1 .
Summary: Decadal sea surface temperature (SST) fluctuations in the North Atlantic Ocean influence climate over adjacent land areas and are a major source of skill in climate predictions. However, the mechanisms underlying decadal SST variability remain to be fully understood. This study isolates the mechanisms driving North Atlantic SST variability on decadal time scales using low-frequency component analysis, which identifies the spatial and temporal structure of low-frequency variability. Based on observations, large ensemble historical simulations, and preindustrial control simulations, we identify a decadal mode of atmosphere–ocean variability in the North Atlantic with a dominant time scale of 13–18 years. Large-scale atmospheric circulation anomalies drive SST anomalies both through contemporaneous air–sea heat fluxes and through delayed ocean circulation changes, the latter involving both the meridional overturning circulation and the horizontal gyre circulation. The decadal SST anomalies alter the atmospheric meridional temperature gradient, leading to a reversal of the initial atmospheric circulation anomaly. The time scale of variability is consistent with westward propagation of baroclinic Rossby waves across the subtropical North Atlantic. The temporal development and spatial pattern of observed decadal SST variability are consistent with the recent observed cooling in the subpolar North Atlantic. This suggests that the recent cold anomaly in the subpolar North Atlantic is, in part, a result of decadal SST variability.

Link to publication. You are most welcome to contact us or the corresponding author(s) directly, if you have questions.

Helene Langehaug on the ocean as a climate prediction mechanism

Hver dag i desember la Bjerknessenteret ut en video med en av senterets klimaforskere.

Helene Langehaug er forsker ved Bjerknessenteret og Nansensenteret for miljø- og fjernmåling, og jobber blant annet i Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit. Hun er en av dem på Bjerknessenteret som lenge har jobbet med klimavarsling. For å kunne gjøre det, er havet ekstra viktig. Det er havet som er klimaets hukommelse, og som legger mye av grunnlaget for å se lengre frem enn det værvarslingen for øyeblikket kan gjøre.