APPOSITE: Arctic Predictability and Prediction On Seasonal to Inter-annual Timescales

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering Computer Science and Maths


The Arctic is a region experiencing rapid climate changes. APPOSITE is a proposed three year research programme focusing on improving our ability to forecast the climate of the Arctic on seasonal to inter-annual timescales. Arctic predictions would be of great value to both the people that live and work in the Arctic regions and also for informing important policy decisions about the region. Additionally, the Arctic region exerts an influence on the climate outside the Arctic. Hence improved forecasts of Arctic climate may increase our ability to forecast climate in mid-latitude regions, such as Europe, on similar seasonal to inter-annual timescales.

Building such Arctic forecast systems will be a complex task, involving the construction of a detailed observation system to monitor Arctic climate, and sophisticated forecast models that can use these observations to enhance predictive capabilities. An important first step before committing to such a programme, is to assess the likely benefits that such a system may bring.

APPOSITE is specifically designed to provide this assessment by answering four key questions:

1) What aspects of Arctic climate can we predict?
2) How far in advance can we predict these aspects? Does this depend on the season?
3) What physical processes and mechanisms are responsible for this predictability?
4) What aspects of forecast models should be prioritised for development?

APPOSITE will use state-of-the art climate models to answer these questions. The answers to these questions will form a key part of the future development of seasonal to inter-annual Arctic forecasting systems nationally and internationally.

Planned Impact

APPOSITE aims to assess the extent to which the climate and state of the Arctic system is predictable on seasonal to inter-annual timescales, and understand the physical processes that govern this predictability. The direct output from the project will provide information about the inherent predictability of the area and how the Arctic effects the mid-latitudes; this knowledge is essential for improving and understanding the limits of operational forecast systems.

The main direct beneficiaries of the knowledge generated by APPOSITE will be:
1. The international research community
2. The UK Met Office and other international forecast providers (e.g. ECMWF).
3. Policy makers: for the UK (Defra), and for the Arctic (DECC and FCO).This work also has the potential to be used by policy makers (DECC) in UNFCCC climate negotiations and could contribute to the fifth IPCC assessment report Chapter 11: Near-term Climate Change: Projections and Predictability.

By the use of the knowledge gained in this project the potential to improve forecast systems will also impact:
4. Business Community: indirectly the results also have the potential to impact industrial sectors such as shipping, oil and gas and tourism through better informed business decisions and assessments of opportunity
5. The general public through improved forecast systems for their locality.

The results of APPOSITE should benefit people, planning to or currently, living and working within the Arctic region such as local Arctic communities and industry operating in the region (shipping, tourism, fishing and future oil and gas exploration). Improved forecasts of weather and the state of the climate system (atmosphere, ocean and sea ice) inform better decision making that can improve lives or have economic reward. The results will also have an indirect impact on UK society and business through potentially improved seasonal forecasts for the European region.


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Description We have looked at the predictability of Arctic sea ice variations
Exploitation Route Too early to say
Sectors Environment