European grant awarded to TRI climate researcher

Professor Noel Keenlyside in front of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen. Photo: Gudrun Sylte, Bjerknes Centre.

European grant awarded to TRI climate researcher

Professor Noel Keenlyside, head of the GREENICE project on climate, green growth and society under the Top-level Research Initiative, has won a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for his work on reducing uncertainties in future climate projections.

Dr Keenlyside, who works at the Geophysical Institute and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research at the University of Bergen, has been awarded the grant for the project “Synchronisation to enhance reliability of climate prediction (STERCP)”, which is targeted towards improving climate prognoses. By connecting different climate models to create a single super model, the professor is hoping to produce higher-precision prognoses of future climate change.

Utenfor Ilulissat, Grønland. NordForsk seeks to support projects that involve a high degree of international cooperation and collaboration across disciplines. Under the Top-level Research Initiative, Professor Keenlyside is working with researchers from seven different countries on the Nordic project “Impact of future cryospheric changes on Northern Hemisphere. Climate, green growth and society” (GREENICE)”. The project is generating greater insight into how the atmosphere responds to changes in sea ice and snow cover. There are some clear parallels between the two projects.

“There is a definite synergy between the GREENICE and the STERCP projects,” Dr Keenlyside states. “Both projects deal with prediction and model errors. Models are always imperfect, and usually researchers run different models separately to account for these imperfections. This is the strategy in the GREENICE project, where several separate models are run separately in order to try to understand the model errors and their impact.”

Cloud band north of the equatorIn the STERCP project, however, we combine several models into one ʻsuper modelʼ. In other words, the different models exchange information continuously as they run,” explains Professor Keenlyside. “This is an alternative method, and is a little controversial. However, we have already shown in a simplified system that this method has promise to improve the simulation and prediction of climate.

"Now with the ERC grant, we can continue this work at a larger scale and really demonstrate its full potential,” adds Dr Keenlyside, who is also drawing benefit from the Nordic contacts he has made through his Top-level Research Initiative project:

“Through NordForsk I have access to a much bigger network, also regarding the social sciences component, which helps make the work relevant,” he concludes.


Read more about Professor Keenlyside receiving an ERC Grant on the University of Bergen website

Read more about the Top-level Research Initiative’s GREENICE project here

Text: Lisa H. Ekli
Main image: Professor Noel Keenlyside in front of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen. Photo: Gudrun Sylte, Bjerknes Centre.
Image 2:
Outside Ilulissat, Greenland. Photo: Nordic Council of Ministers, Silje Bergum Kinsten.

Image 3: Climate models have great difficulty simulating the persistent cloud band that is found just North of the Equator pictured in the image. Improving the representation of such features is one of STERCP aims. Photo: NASA