Storms and Land

The theme Storms and Land will focus on attaining realistic simulations of the components of the surface energy budget, water cycle, momentum balance as well as near-surface meteorology over land, in terms of mean and temporal variability, and by updating the representation of the land surface.

For this purpose, land observational networks, including observational super-sites and FLUXNET measurements, and a field study (FESSTVaL in the boreal summers of 2020 and 2021) targeted to observe variability in the planetary boundary layer on scales 2 km to 20 km over Germany will be exploited. Methods will be explored to set up an offline carbon model driven by the output of one SR-ESM.

This theme will study whether SR-ESMs produce a more realistic climatology of blocking, dry and warm spells and surface radiation and whether this is due to a more realistic representation of land surface heterogeneities, or due to better resolved convective storms. Furthermore, upscale effects whereby a better representation of storm and landscape scale circulations becomes manifest in the large-scale circulation will be studied. Implications for the carbon (emissions) stock-take will also be investigated.

Work Package 8

Development Phase


WP8 evaluates the representation of the components of the surface energy, water cycle, and momentum balances as well as near-surface meteorology over land, and to set up data logging infrastructure for generating high-resolution time series over locations of observational sites and renewable energy production.

Further Description

In the S&L Development phase, a primary goal of WP8 will be to evaluate the representation of the components of the surface energy, water cycle, and momentum balances as well as near-surface meteorology over land. Those are all basic quantities that determine the experienced climate at a location. Given the advantage of resolving the full weather at the storm scale with the SR-ESMs, WP8 will also improve the land surface information by using the latest satellite products so as to include the full range of spatial heterogeneities present at the land surface. Furthermore, due to the large amount of data that is produced, collecting statistics becomes a challenge, as the vast amount of data being produced requires many statistics to be computed online. In particular, high resolution time series at selected locations are needed in order to compare the model output to observations at actual measurement stations. A further aim of WP8 is thus to prepare on- and offline postprocessing of model results to produce the needed statistics in a close collaboration between scientists and stakeholders, in particular from the solar energy community. Finally, a terrestrial biosphere model will be coupled to one of the SR-ESMs so as to estimate, in the Application phase (WP9), the effects of explicitly resolving small-scale processes and land surface heterogeneities on carbon estimates.

Lead Beneficiary: MPI-M

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Work Package 9

Application Phase


WP9 assess the impacts of storm-scale variability, present both in weather systems and in the land surface, on the statistics of the extra-tropical climate and the resulting implications for the terrestrial biosphere.

Further Description

In the S&L Application phase, WP9 investigates whether the combined effects of a realistic representation of the land surface and better resolved storms lead to a more realistic representation of atmospheric phenomena that critically depend on the coupling between small scales and the large-scale circulation, such as atmospheric blocking and dry and warm spells. It will do so by comparing the production runs to current ESM simulations, and through sensitivity experiments, in which the detail level of the orography and land use will be varied independently of the spatial resolution of the atmospheric model. Each task addresses a topic that greatly benefits from SR-ESMs, due to its dependence on realistic large-scale meteorology as well as on a detailed representation of the land surface. The first task (9.1) will investigate the representation of atmospheric blockings in the SR-ESMs. These are drivers of high impact surface weather, such as warm and dry spells and precipitation variability, which will be studied in task 9.2. Task 9.3 will study whether the combined improvements in small- and large-scale weather result in an improved surface solar radiation balance and will estimate the benefit of SR-ESMs for the solar power community. Changes in temperature and precipitation statistics also affect the biosphere. Task 9.4 will therefore analyse SR-ESM benefits for carbon balance estimations. WP9 will also coorganize a hackathon (task 9.5) in which the science and user communities will jointly explore the exceptional detail level of storm-resolving simulations by creating risk maps of natural hazards based on model output.

Lead Beneficiary: WU

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Science Explainer

Science explainers present the driving ideas and progress from NextGEMS scientists in plain language. The Explainers aim to show how scientists think and their way of working and cover a wide range of topics relevant to any audience interested in the latest breakthroughs related to strom-resolving Earth Systems Models (SR-ESM).

Storms & Land will not only investigate land-surface heterogeneity and terrestrial biosphere in weather and climate models, but also look at fluctuations of surface solar radiations, reasoned by clouds for example. This will benefit the radiation forecasting and support stakeholders in the renewable energy sector to enhance their energy grid stability. Find the full explanation in our media library or click on the button below for the factsheet.


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