How Cordex can help us build the next generation of climate services

– a talk by Daniela Jacobs

On Monday, March 4th 2024, Prof. Dr. Daniela Jacob, Director of the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), held an inspiring keynote at the opening event of the 4th km-scale hackathon. She painted a picture of the challenges posed by climate change, affecting the lives of all of us, and how the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) and the Earth Visualization Engine (EVE) could be the next steps towards an international, joint approach to address and tackle the challenging times ahead.

Recent decades have shown that only half a degree of rising global temperature was enough to induce immense changes in the frequency and intensity of droughts, heat waves and extreme precipitation. These developments continue in the coming years causing extreme events in places where they had never happened before. The current youth will, throughout their lifetime, experience a change in temperature of 4-6°C if we do not act urgently on mitigation of greenhouse gas, threatening their livelihood and potentially impacting their physical and mental health.

The climate modeling community holds both the privilege and the duty to understand what lies ahead of us. Developing adaptation measures that are specific to various places and contexts requires enhanced integration of global and local impact models. To do so it is not sufficient to only learn from the past but we will need to utilize scenarios to understand the future climate risks and mitigate their impacts at regional and local levels.

The Current Approach

This is where CORDEX plays a vital role. For the last 15 years, the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment has been advancing climate science through regional climate down scaling in a global partnership framework. Its relatively coarse scale of 12 to 25km for each continent embeds some higher resolution domains, creating information that can be integrated at the local scale to support sustainable decision-making.

By sharing this information, consulting, discussing and collaborating with different experts in a sustainable way, scientists are able to move to finer and finer scales, revealing weather and climate details that were not previously captured in the models.

The challenges we face now are the inequity of access to information, the mismatch between the scale of information available and that needed to answer the questions being asked, the low impact of users in generating information, as well as the very limited ability of users to interact with information.

The way forward

EVE aims to address these issues by creating „an international federation of centres of excellence to empower all people to respond to the immense and urgent challenges posed by climate change“ in an international, collaborative venture (Stevens et al., 2024). The concepts upon which EVE is being developed could revolutionize the way stakeholders interact with information for modeling and advances in knowledge creation. The plan is to build a digital infrastructure that will take advantage of the latest scientific and technological developments for the production and sharing of climate information. EVE is designed to engage all societal actors in assessing climate risks and supporting adaptation processes. It combines real-world data, simulations and AI to create an interactive, multi-tiered information system that uses high-performance computing to develop the most sophisticated simulations of future climate change.

The experience gained with CORDEX can be built upon to provide a solid foundation for EVE, contributing to and shaping its development. In return, EVE could serve as an integration platform supporting climate services by allowing quick interaction and analysis.


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