Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New report seeks to improve climate forecasts

Date:
September 10, 2010
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
From farmers to government officials in charge of efficiently managing Earth's precious water and energy resources, people all over the world rely on accurate short-term climate forecasts on timescales ranging from a few weeks to a few years to make more informed decisions. But today's climate forecast systems have limited ability to operate on such timescales. That's because it's difficult to realistically represent the complex interactions between Earth's ocean, atmosphere and land surface in the climate models from which forecasts are developed. A new report by the National Academy of Sciences looks at the current state of these climate predictions and recommends strategies and best practices for improving them.

Intraseasonal to interannual climate predictions play a key role in producing NOAA's weekly Global Tropics Benefits/Hazards Assessment product, which provides a one-to-two-week outlook of expected enhanced or suppressed rainfall, and regions where conditions are especially favorable or unfavorable for the development of tropical cyclones.
Credit: NOAA

From farmers to government officials in charge of efficiently managing Earth's precious water and energy resources, people all over the world rely on accurate short-term climate forecasts on timescales ranging from a few weeks to a few years to make more informed decisions.

Related Articles


But today's climate forecast systems have limited ability to operate on such timescales. That's because it's difficult to realistically represent the complex interactions between Earth's ocean, atmosphere and land surface in the climate models from which forecasts are developed.

A new report by the National Academy of Sciences looks at the current state of these climate predictions and recommends strategies and best practices for improving them. Duane Waliser, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., was on the 12-member panel that conducted the NOAA-requested study.

Among the report's key recommendations:

  • Continue research to better understand and use information from key sources of climate predictability, and interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, atmosphere and land, as well as volcanic eruptions, greenhouse gases and land use changes.
  • Improve the basic building blocks of climate forecasts through better physical climate models, making more sustained physical observations, better incorporating observations into forecast systems, and increasing collaboration between forecast agencies and stakeholders in developing and implementing forecast strategies.
  • Adopt best practices such as working more closely with research communities, particularly universities; making data that feed into and come out of forecasts publicly available; minimizing subjective forecast components; and using forecast metrics that better convey to the public the probability aspects of forecasts.

Waliser contributed his expertise in a phenomenon called the Madden-Julian Oscillation that exerts a powerful influence on short-term climate predictions. During this type of climate pattern, unusual variations of clouds, rainfall and large-scale atmospheric circulation move slowly eastward from the tropical Indian Ocean into the Pacific Ocean over the course of weeks, ebbing and flowing like waves in cycles lasting about 40 to 50 days. This climate pattern typically spans more than half the distance around Earth's equator. In the disturbed portion of the "wave," air rises, triggering showers and thunderstorms; in the sinking portion, air subsides, inhibiting clouds and rainfall.

Madden-Julian Oscillation events can strongly influence long-term weather patterns and have widespread impacts around the globe. They can help trigger the beginning and end of the Asian and Indian monsoons and influence the development and evolution of El Niño, hurricanes and weather in Earth's mid-latitudes. Scientists want to incorporate information about the oscillation more accurately into the climate models that agencies around the world use to predict weather and climate.

"Ten years ago, our ability to forecast Madden-Julian Oscillation events was very limited," said Waliser. "Today, numerous operational forecast centers around the world are recognizing the importance of forecasting the MJO and are beginning to provide useful forecast information about it. This information, in turn, can be used to make better forecasts of other weather and climate phenomena.

"This new report highlights the key shortcomings and strategies needed to make more accurate climate forecasts-- not just of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, but of intraseasonal to interannual climate forecasts in general," he added. The full report, called "Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability," can be read and downloaded at: http://nationalacademies.org/morenews/20100908.html .


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "New report seeks to improve climate forecasts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908160350.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2010, September 10). New report seeks to improve climate forecasts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908160350.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "New report seeks to improve climate forecasts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908160350.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins