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Prof James Screen

Projects

CURRENT PROJECTS

ArctiCONNECT: Consequences of Arctic warming for European climate and extreme weather

Natural Environment Research Council £2.5m; 2020-2023

The overarching aim of ArctiCONNECT is to harness advances in observing and modelling capabilities and novel analysis tools to transform abstract reasoning into a predictive understanding of the effects of Arctic amplification on European climate and extreme weather. ArctiCONNECT brings together experts in climate dynamics, polar and subpolar oceanography, and meteorology, working with theory, observations, and models of varying complexity. It is unclear whether and how dramatic current and future changes in the Arctic will affect Europe. ArctiCONNECT will transform understanding of the effects of Arctic warming on European climate and extreme weather, through an innovative and integrative program of research bridging theory, models of varying complexity, and observations. It will uncover the atmospheric and oceanic mechanisms of Arctic influence on Europe; determine the ability of state-of-the-art climate models to simulate realistic Arctic-to-Europe teleconnections; and quantify and understand the contribution of Arctic warming to projected changes in weather extremes and societal hazards.

Follow this project on Twitter: @arctic_connect

Emergence of climate hazards

Natural Environment Research Council £2.2m; 2019-2022

Climate hazards are weather and climate 'extreme events' that can cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, and environmental resources. Such events are, most likely, influenced by global climate change in ways that we do not currently understand. Future climate change may further exacerbate their impacts. This project assesses the impact of climate change on climate hazards in the past and present and project forward their changes into the future. There is a focus on the next 30 years because of the relevance of this time scale for adaptation strategies produced by governments, businesses and individuals. EMERGENCE uses information from state-of-the-art climate models, including from models with unprecedented fine detail. It also uses cutting edge observations in order to constrain climate model predictions using changes already observed, drawing on new and improved analysis techniques (including event attribution, machine learning and feature tracking) that were not available or not widely applied during previous assessments of climate hazards from older models. The hazards addressed are: extreme heat stress events, tropical deluges and droughts, and storms with their associated extreme winds and rainfall. Information will be integrated into global indicators that will form a snapshot summary of climate hazard risks that, in turn, will be an essential resource for policy makers.

Robust spatial projections of real-world climate change

Natural Environment Research Council £3.7m; 2016-2020

This project aims to provide a step-change in the ability of climate scientists to produce robust projections of climate change and to quantify the uncertainties in projections. A new framework will be developed that combines information from models, observations and our basic understanding of climate with modern statistical techniques to produce projections. This new framework will be applied to three important climate regimes of Earth: tropical and subtropical temperature and precipitation change; middle latitude cyclones and anti-cyclones; and polar temperature and sea-ice changes. It brings together leading UK scientists (many are IPCC authors) from the Universities of Exeter, Reading, Oxford and East Anglia, and the Met Office, to address this grand challenge in climate science. It aims to precipitate a cultural shift that unifies diverse approaches from techniques to understand climate process and statistical methods and consolidate the UKs position as a world-leading centre for climate projection science.

 

PAST PROJECTS

High Impact Weather Events in Eurasia: Selected, Simulated and Storified

Natural Environment Research Council £400K; 2016-2020

HIWAVES3 facilitates a dialogue between climate modelers, impact modelers and partners in different geographical regions with knowledge of local societal relevant meteorological events to construct stories of selected high-impact extreme events, simulated for present-day and future climate conditions. The story includes the origin of the extreme event from a meteorological perspective, its inter-regional linkages, its predictability, its societal impact and how climate change affects its magnitude and probability. Such stories, made available for schools, the general public and governments, are effective communication means, more so than bare numbers about the expected mean temperature increase, precipitation changes in percentages and such. Based on surveys, extreme summer events with large societal impacts, like droughts and floods, will be selected from the recent past for China, India and Europe. Similar events will be identified in large ensembles of global climate simulations. The size of the ensembles allows an analysis of the inter-regional linkages between the Arctic, the Midlatitudes and the Indian Monsoon region through large-scale Rossby waves and other meteorological factors leading to the extreme, like soil-moisture and sea-surface temperature conditions. In addition, a one in a thousand year event in China, India and Europe, although not witnessed in the recent past, will be analysed. The predictability of the event, weeks to months in advance will be assessed through additional simulations. Using empirical methods and process-based models, the impact on crop yields and economy will be estimated as well as the number of premature deaths. Using large ensembles under projected 2050 conditions the effect of climate change on these extremes and their impacts will be analysed. This research material is translated into powerful stories about concrete events that illustrate how climate affects man, man affects climate, how different geographical regions are connected and how extreme the weather might get. The meteorological data of these events will be made available for further impact studies.

Persistence of seasonal climate anomalies: Drivers, mechanisms and process-based diagnostics

Natural Environment Research Council £1.4m; 2014-2018

With the ultimate goal of improving seasonal forecasts, this project aims to advance mechanistic understanding of three key boundary conditions that influence European seasonal weather: North Atlantic upper-ocean heat content, Arctic sea-ice, and the stratosphere. The persistence of atmospheric phenomena responsible for unusual summer weather and climate will be the principal focus. The project will use a mixture of state-of-the-art coupled climate model experiments, idealised dynamical frameworks and advanced statistical techniques.

Arctic climate change and its midlatitude impacts

Natural Environment Research Council Fellowship £285K; 2013-2016

The Arctic climate is changing fast, with far reaching repercussions. There is an urgent need for scientific projections of future Arctic conditions to inform policy decisions. This project aims to improve our understanding of Arctic climate change and its impacts on weather and climate in the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes, and of the physical processes that govern these interactions. This objective will be achieved through complementary analyses of observations and state-of-the-art climate model simulations (CMIP5), by performing idealised numerical modeling experiments and employing innovative statistical methods. The Fellowship will be hosted by the University of Exeter with national (UK Met Office Hadley Centre) and international (US National Center for Atmospheric Research) partners. It will enhance our knowledge, and ultimately our ability to predict, future Arctic climate change and hence assess the potential environmental, socio-economic and political impacts that may result.