IMPALA: Improving Model Processes for African cLimAte

Lead Research Organisation: Met Office
Department Name: Government Business

Abstract

IMPALA will deliver a step change in global model climate prediction for Africa on the 5-40 year timescale by delivering reductions in model systematic errors, resulting in reduced uncertainty in predictions of African climate and enabling improved assessment of the robustness of multi-model projections for the continent. IMPALA will include key foci on continental convection and land-atmosphere coupling as fundamental drivers of local rainfall, and oceanic convection and aerosols as influencing global modes of variability and the teleconnection pathways by which they drive rainfall over various parts of the continent. Convection, land-atmosphere coupling and aerosols have been identified in the DFID/Met Office Climate Science Research Partnership (CSRP) as first order drivers of African rainfall and processes where contemporary models show significant uncertainties and biases.

IMPALA will use a single multi-temporal, multi-spatial resolution model, the Met Office Unified Model (MetUM), to allow rapid pull through of improvements made in the project into improved African climate modelling capability although the methodology and understanding will be widely applicable across all contemporary models. We will work through a pan-Africa lens to develop a benchmark suite of metrics targeted on key processes and user-relevant variables and will use the most relevant observations from past and future campaigns and latest remote sensing data. Strong links to partners and Regional Consortia (RC) will facilitate two-way evaluation and feedback, ensuring local understanding of relevant climate processes and required climate information in the regions. Evaluation of the impacts of the global model improvements, developed both within the project and through gearing from the ongoing model development process at the Met Office will be tested in idealised-scenarios of climate change.

The unique capability of the MetUM to run across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales will be central to the project. Running the MetUM as a cloud-resolving weather model, through to a multi-decadal climate model, will allow evaluation of physical processes controlling the uncertainty in key metrics of pan-African climate variability and climate change on the 5-40 year time scale. The latest global coupled models available at the Met Office will be harnessed to drive a higher resolution (4km) convection-permitting regional model, for the first time across the entire African continent, under both current and idealised future climates. This will deliver understanding of the roles played by improved local representation of convective processes and high impact weather on the climate variability and change over the continent and be used to improve convective, land-atmosphere coupling and aerosol parametrizations in the coarser-scale models. The results will also provide an important new resource for RC and other African-focused climate research, enabling better-informed evaluation of the robustness of multi-model projections. This, in turn, can be utilised by decision makers to improve risk management for health, agriculture and water resources and help protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable, safeguarding societal development already achieved.

Key model results, metrics and observations will be made available to the FCFA RC and local partners through an interactive webpage. The consortium will also work closely with the FCFA Coordination, Capacity Development and Knowledge Exchange (CCKE) Unit in their pan-African cross-programme research activities.

Planned Impact

IMPALA research will have significant impact locally, nationally and regionally in Africa as well as globally via the following beneficiaries and pathways.
FCFA Regional Consortia adaptation and impacts researchers and regional climate information providers will have direct access to new scientific understanding on, and improved simulations of, African climate variability and change via inclusion in the established Africa-focused process evaluation group (PEG). CP4-Africa climate change simulations will be disseminated through the NERC JASMIN data cluster for regional consortia to test multi-model projection robustness in key stakeholder-relevant local processes and extremes often poorly represented in coarser resolution models.
Model development Scientists in Africa: The 5 African model evaluation and development scientists in IMPALA will make extended visits to the Met Office focused on MetUM evaluation, development and training. They and their institutes will be offered the opportunity to install MetUM technical infrastructure and support for its configuration and application, developing local and regional expertise which is currently in very limited supply.
Policymakers: Policy briefings on improved reliability of model predictions relevant to climate resilience and adaptation planning across Africa will be delivered to UK Government through DFID and, via the Met Office Hadley Centre Knowledge Integration team, DECC. Internationally they will be communicated to the Conferences of the Parties and the Nairobi Work Programme of the UNFCCC and IPCC through active engagement in its scientific assessments and special reports. Close contact will be maintained with the African Climate Policy Centre and the African Development Bank.
People and communities in Africa and beyond: The ultimate beneficiaries of the research will be people of sub-Saharan Africa and IMPALA scientists will work with the CCKE Unit to assist in generating cross-programme outputs, e.g. material demonstrating improved capability to assess risks of key agriculture-relevant rainfall events, for their user training workshops and interactions with other DFID programmes and broader capacity development and adaptation activities.
Operational weather, seasonal forecasting and climate service capability in Africa: IMPALA model developments will imply improved representation of processes important for short-range to seasonal forecasting. With the MetUM being used across all timescales these developments will rapidly deliver improved weather and seasonal forecasts relevant to existing severe weather to seasonal forecasting activities the Met Office is already feeding directly into as well as to future programmes such as SHEAR funded by DFID.
Scientific community, CMIP6 and other modelling centres: To broaden the Africa-lens approach to the international stage IMPALA's methodology for model diagnosis, understanding and improvement will be disseminated through papers, at international science meetings and included in the planned CMIP6 benchmarking and evaluation software tools (overseen by the WCRP Working Group for Coupled Models co-chaired by the PI).
Cross programme Activities: IMPALA scientists will work with the CCKE Unit to ensure full engagement in cross-programme activities and knowledge transfer through relevant networks. Scientists from regional consortia will be included in the Africa PEG to enable a rapid exchange of model developments, datasets and understanding and ideas on relevant metrics of model performance.
Wider FCFA programme activities through the Programme Executive Committee (PEC): The PI will work with the Programme Management Unit and PEC to increase IMPALA impact and reach beyond FCFA. The PI and CO-Is have broad experience in communicating work on African science to inter-disciplinary scientists and policy makers through their engagement in previous DFID or NERC projects and are already active in many outreach events in Africa.

Publications

10 25 50

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James R (2018) Evaluating Climate Models with an African Lens in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

 
Description Findings are numbered and paired for cross-reference with entries on potential use in the following section.

1) The importance of convection-permitting high-resolution climate modelling: The present-day and idealised future CP4-Africa simulations have been made available to all FCFA RC researchers. Important findings are emerging that: a) identify how these new simulations improve representation of present-day African climate, and b) enhance our understanding of how the improved modelling of the weather scale in CP4-Africa (e.g. convective storms) can impact on projections of future climate. A consistent picture is emerging in which both convection-permitting and parameterised models indicate heavy rainfall events will be more frequent in future climate and make a substantially greater contribution to seasonal totals, but the transfer to higher frequency heavy rainfall is substantially greater with the more realistic simulation of convection as in CP4-Africa. One study over West Africa finds that the contribution to WAM season totals from rainfall above the 99.99th percentile increases by a factor of 10 in CP4 but only doubles in CP25. A body of results is also emerging on the impact of improved representation of convection on projected changes in sub-seasonal characteristics. For example: false season onset; length of dry spells; flash flood events and slow flood events are all seen to increase in frequency in the future CP4 simulations more than in the nCP25 simulations. Other mesoscale aspects - such as important future changes to sea-breeze generated rainfall in East Africa are more plausibly simulated by CP4 because of its improved diurnal cycle of rainfall. Across Africa generally, CP4 future simulations indicate larger increases in the number and intensity of heatwaves because of improved ability to maintain heatwave-related dry, clear-sky conditions.

2) IMPALA research has advanced understanding of how model biases influence large-scale drivers and teleconnections to African rainfall - notably on the East African Short-Rains seasons and the West African monsoon.

3) [New] IMPALA research has developed new understanding on the drivers of interannual rainfall variability in the East Africa Long Rains season - for which relatively low seasonal prediction skill has been a long-standing challenge in providing advice to resilience planners and decision makers.

4) Techniques and diagnostic tools to test causes and locations of model biases have been developed and applied. These include simulation "nudging", PV tracers, comparison of short-range prediction and climate simulation biases). Findings include new discoveries on the specific source of errors over Africa (e.g. transmission/growth of errors associated with the Asian monsoon) as well as understanding of the strengths and limitations of the each method.

5) Model developments that improve the physical basis of the MetUM have been pioneered and refined through IMPALA research and implemented in new versions of the MetUM.
Exploitation Route 1) Improved climate modelling will lead to improved resilience to climate variability and change. Benefits to society and economy can include improved food security, health and resilience of built infrastructure (e.g. roads, dams, urban environment). The CP4-Africa simulations (with e.g. the greater increases in extreme rainfall frequency and longer dry spells) are being used by the FCFA regional case studies with stakeholders - and can add significant new perspectives leading to better planning and adaptation.

2) Improved understanding of the mechanisms of model biases is informing model development. For example, the importance of the common low-level easterly flow bias in the Indian Ocean - and feedbacks on SST - to model errors in the East Africa Short Rains points to the need to accelerate the improvement of modelling of the Indian Ocean regional ocean/land/atmosphere system.

3) [New] New understanding on the drivers of interannual rainfall variability of the East Africa Long Rains season (now published) has been pulled into use by the NERC/DFID SHEAR-ForPAc project. Under ForPAc funding the methodology has been incorporated into a new prediction tool and introduced at the 51st Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (February 2019), most specifically for use in Kenya where its prediction skill is highest.

4) Publications on diagnostics and model evaluation will contribute to improving the physical basis of the next generation of international models used in IPCC climate change assessments. To facilitate this, new diagnostics and metrics of model performance are being identified for use by the wider modelling community (this activity is supported and promoted by the BAMS paper "Evaluating Climate Models with an African Lens" (James et al. 2017)). In the long-term, improved climate modelling will lead to improved resilience to climate variability and change -through more informed planning, decison-making and adaptation. Benefits to society and economy can include improved food security, health and resilience of built infrastructure (e.g. roads, dams, urban environment).

5) Improvements to the MetUM will have an impact not only on the quality of its climate scenarios but also, because of the unified timescale configuration of the MetUM, on short, seasonal and decadal range predictions. Such improvements can be used to improve early warning systems of weather and climate hazards across all timescales.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Education,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

 
Description Africa-based IMPALA researchers become Lead Authors on IPCC AR6 Working Group 1: Chapter 4 and Chapter 8.
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Introduction of new methodolgy for predicting the East Africa Long Rains
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Title CP4-Africa 
Description The convection permitting pan-Africa simulation, CP4-Africa, uses a ~4.5km horizontal grid length and has been configured to use the latest model physics and revised Africa soil properties. The domain covers the entire African continent and boundary region to allow representation of impinging systems such as tropical temperate troughs. The planned 10 years of present-day climate simulations (1997-2006) and 10 years of idealised future simulations (2097-2107) have now been completed. The model specification and initial analysis of results is now published in Stratton et al, 2018. Publications on design and analysis of the future simulations are imminent. For both present day and future simulations a control non-convection permitting regional simulation at 25km resolution (nCP25-Africa) is being run to measure the CP4-Africa benefits. Analysis of the present-day simulations shows marked benefits in CP4-Africa's simulation of African climate relative to the control. Marked differences in future simulations with the convection-permitting system relative to the conventional parameterised convection system are emerging that are of high importance to adaptation advice. These have been reported in other sections and notably include a greater increase in the frequency of extreme rainfall as well as increases in in-season dry spells. The CP4-Africa and nCP25-Africa simulations have continued to be made widely available to the FCFA Regional Consortia (RCs) via the JASMIN facility. Access by researchers is working well. This year plans have been developed with the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) to build a public-facing store of a limited subset of CP4-Africa data with easy access and no expiration. The full archive of CP4-Africa data will be stored indefinitely on MASS and will be available through JASMIN and MASS. Cross-FCFA legacy synthesis outputs: IMPALA is leading on 2 synthesis outputs, both related to CP4-Africa, 1) A technical guidance document aimed at promoting use of the CP4-Africa simulations by new researchers; 2) A BAMS-style paper recording the end-to-end lessons learned from CP4-Africa and promoting the convection-permitting approach within the climate community. For more details see the section on collaborations. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The CP4Africa simulations are impacting on research the FCFA Regional Consortia are conducting with Africa regional stakeholders and decision makers. The new perspectives that CP4-Africa is providing on future changes in the frequency of high impact climate events (see above) will be included in new adaptation advice developed. 
 
Description Africa Process Evaluation Group 
Organisation University of Exeter
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The main objective of the Africa Process Evaluation Group for Global Model Development (Africa-PEG) is to guide future global model development such that African atmospheric processes are improved and not degraded in new model versions. The PEG will work across space and timescales, identifying and improving processes by working directly with the parameterisation and development teams. The group consists of both internal Met Office scientists and external academic collaborators. The activity is led by, but not confined to the Met Office Academic Partnership institutions. A key contribution from the Met Office is to provide output from developing MetUM versions for analysis The Africa-PEG was formed circa 2010, but IMPALA has been engaged with it from the start of the project
Collaborator Contribution Partners contribute by evaluating MetUM versions and sharing results at Africa-PEG meetings. This informs model development with a focus on Africa.
Impact Africa-PEG meetings with sharing of MetUM evaluation results took place this year on and 26 April 2018 13 September 2018
Start Year 2016
 
Description Africa Process Evaluation Group 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The main objective of the Africa Process Evaluation Group for Global Model Development (Africa-PEG) is to guide future global model development such that African atmospheric processes are improved and not degraded in new model versions. The PEG will work across space and timescales, identifying and improving processes by working directly with the parameterisation and development teams. The group consists of both internal Met Office scientists and external academic collaborators. The activity is led by, but not confined to the Met Office Academic Partnership institutions. A key contribution from the Met Office is to provide output from developing MetUM versions for analysis The Africa-PEG was formed circa 2010, but IMPALA has been engaged with it from the start of the project
Collaborator Contribution Partners contribute by evaluating MetUM versions and sharing results at Africa-PEG meetings. This informs model development with a focus on Africa.
Impact Africa-PEG meetings with sharing of MetUM evaluation results took place this year on and 26 April 2018 13 September 2018
Start Year 2016
 
Description Africa Process Evaluation Group 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The main objective of the Africa Process Evaluation Group for Global Model Development (Africa-PEG) is to guide future global model development such that African atmospheric processes are improved and not degraded in new model versions. The PEG will work across space and timescales, identifying and improving processes by working directly with the parameterisation and development teams. The group consists of both internal Met Office scientists and external academic collaborators. The activity is led by, but not confined to the Met Office Academic Partnership institutions. A key contribution from the Met Office is to provide output from developing MetUM versions for analysis The Africa-PEG was formed circa 2010, but IMPALA has been engaged with it from the start of the project
Collaborator Contribution Partners contribute by evaluating MetUM versions and sharing results at Africa-PEG meetings. This informs model development with a focus on Africa.
Impact Africa-PEG meetings with sharing of MetUM evaluation results took place this year on and 26 April 2018 13 September 2018
Start Year 2016
 
Description Africa Process Evaluation Group 
Organisation University of Reading
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The main objective of the Africa Process Evaluation Group for Global Model Development (Africa-PEG) is to guide future global model development such that African atmospheric processes are improved and not degraded in new model versions. The PEG will work across space and timescales, identifying and improving processes by working directly with the parameterisation and development teams. The group consists of both internal Met Office scientists and external academic collaborators. The activity is led by, but not confined to the Met Office Academic Partnership institutions. A key contribution from the Met Office is to provide output from developing MetUM versions for analysis The Africa-PEG was formed circa 2010, but IMPALA has been engaged with it from the start of the project
Collaborator Contribution Partners contribute by evaluating MetUM versions and sharing results at Africa-PEG meetings. This informs model development with a focus on Africa.
Impact Africa-PEG meetings with sharing of MetUM evaluation results took place this year on and 26 April 2018 13 September 2018
Start Year 2016
 
Description FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL 
Organisation London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Department Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The collaborators listed are the lead institutions for the 4 FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL IMPALA contribution is sharing of plans for model improvement and idealised climate scenarios with the CP4-Africa model (a pan-Africa high resolution, convection permitting regional model) FCFA cross-programme synthesis outputs. IMPALA has led on 2 synthesis outputs: 1) the development of guidance documentation on analysis and interpretation of CP4-Africa simulations as one of the agreed FCFA cross-programme legacy outputs. Components of the guidance will include: - What simulations have been performed - How can we interpret the results - How should we expect the results from CP4-A to differ from CMIP models? - What is new in this model - What are the limitations - How to access data from the model - User experiences in accessing and using data from the model This work is ongoing as part of no cost extensions in the Regional Consortia 2) A "BAMS" (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) style paper on CP4-Africa that will cover the end to end experience and lessons learnt: design, analysis, interpretation of present-day and future results and their implications for stakeholder advice and to promote the CP4-Africa approach to the wider science community. An early version of paper has been drafted.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborators will use IMPALA outputs, notably the CP4-Africa simulations, their input has been to provide feedback on the design of the CP4-Africa simulations and to climate model evaluation metrics FCFA cross programme synthesis outputs The Regional Consortia collaborators are using their experience at accessing, analysing and interpreting CP4-Africa simulations to provide modules that will form the technical guidance and are providing inputs also into the BAMS paper.
Impact Working document on recommended metrics for model evaluation
Start Year 2015
 
Description FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council
Department Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The collaborators listed are the lead institutions for the 4 FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL IMPALA contribution is sharing of plans for model improvement and idealised climate scenarios with the CP4-Africa model (a pan-Africa high resolution, convection permitting regional model) FCFA cross-programme synthesis outputs. IMPALA has led on 2 synthesis outputs: 1) the development of guidance documentation on analysis and interpretation of CP4-Africa simulations as one of the agreed FCFA cross-programme legacy outputs. Components of the guidance will include: - What simulations have been performed - How can we interpret the results - How should we expect the results from CP4-A to differ from CMIP models? - What is new in this model - What are the limitations - How to access data from the model - User experiences in accessing and using data from the model This work is ongoing as part of no cost extensions in the Regional Consortia 2) A "BAMS" (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) style paper on CP4-Africa that will cover the end to end experience and lessons learnt: design, analysis, interpretation of present-day and future results and their implications for stakeholder advice and to promote the CP4-Africa approach to the wider science community. An early version of paper has been drafted.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborators will use IMPALA outputs, notably the CP4-Africa simulations, their input has been to provide feedback on the design of the CP4-Africa simulations and to climate model evaluation metrics FCFA cross programme synthesis outputs The Regional Consortia collaborators are using their experience at accessing, analysing and interpreting CP4-Africa simulations to provide modules that will form the technical guidance and are providing inputs also into the BAMS paper.
Impact Working document on recommended metrics for model evaluation
Start Year 2015
 
Description FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL 
Organisation University of Cape Town
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The collaborators listed are the lead institutions for the 4 FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL IMPALA contribution is sharing of plans for model improvement and idealised climate scenarios with the CP4-Africa model (a pan-Africa high resolution, convection permitting regional model) FCFA cross-programme synthesis outputs. IMPALA has led on 2 synthesis outputs: 1) the development of guidance documentation on analysis and interpretation of CP4-Africa simulations as one of the agreed FCFA cross-programme legacy outputs. Components of the guidance will include: - What simulations have been performed - How can we interpret the results - How should we expect the results from CP4-A to differ from CMIP models? - What is new in this model - What are the limitations - How to access data from the model - User experiences in accessing and using data from the model This work is ongoing as part of no cost extensions in the Regional Consortia 2) A "BAMS" (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) style paper on CP4-Africa that will cover the end to end experience and lessons learnt: design, analysis, interpretation of present-day and future results and their implications for stakeholder advice and to promote the CP4-Africa approach to the wider science community. An early version of paper has been drafted.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborators will use IMPALA outputs, notably the CP4-Africa simulations, their input has been to provide feedback on the design of the CP4-Africa simulations and to climate model evaluation metrics FCFA cross programme synthesis outputs The Regional Consortia collaborators are using their experience at accessing, analysing and interpreting CP4-Africa simulations to provide modules that will form the technical guidance and are providing inputs also into the BAMS paper.
Impact Working document on recommended metrics for model evaluation
Start Year 2015
 
Description FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The collaborators listed are the lead institutions for the 4 FCFA regional consortia: UMFULA, FRACTAL, AMMA-2050, HyCRISTAL IMPALA contribution is sharing of plans for model improvement and idealised climate scenarios with the CP4-Africa model (a pan-Africa high resolution, convection permitting regional model) FCFA cross-programme synthesis outputs. IMPALA has led on 2 synthesis outputs: 1) the development of guidance documentation on analysis and interpretation of CP4-Africa simulations as one of the agreed FCFA cross-programme legacy outputs. Components of the guidance will include: - What simulations have been performed - How can we interpret the results - How should we expect the results from CP4-A to differ from CMIP models? - What is new in this model - What are the limitations - How to access data from the model - User experiences in accessing and using data from the model This work is ongoing as part of no cost extensions in the Regional Consortia 2) A "BAMS" (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) style paper on CP4-Africa that will cover the end to end experience and lessons learnt: design, analysis, interpretation of present-day and future results and their implications for stakeholder advice and to promote the CP4-Africa approach to the wider science community. An early version of paper has been drafted.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborators will use IMPALA outputs, notably the CP4-Africa simulations, their input has been to provide feedback on the design of the CP4-Africa simulations and to climate model evaluation metrics FCFA cross programme synthesis outputs The Regional Consortia collaborators are using their experience at accessing, analysing and interpreting CP4-Africa simulations to provide modules that will form the technical guidance and are providing inputs also into the BAMS paper.
Impact Working document on recommended metrics for model evaluation
Start Year 2015
 
Description Contribution to online article in CarbonBrief: Q&A: How do climate models work 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The article is an educational piece explaining the benefits of high resolution convection-permitting modelling and referencing the CP4-Africa model in use in IMPALA and FCFA Regional Consortia. The relevant text is copied below.

Convectional rainfall can occur on short timescales and in very specific areas. Global climate models, therefore, have a resolution that is too coarse to capture these rainfall events. Instead, scientists use "parameterisations" (see above) that represent the average effects of convection over an individual grid cell. This means GCMs do not simulate individual storms and local high rainfall events, explains Dr Lizzie Kendon, senior climate extremes scientist at the Met Office Hadley Centre, to Carbon Brief: "As a consequence, GCMs are unable to capture precipitation intensities on sub-daily timescales and summertime precipitation extremes. Thus, we would have low confidence in future projections of hourly rainfall or convective extremes from GCMs or coarse resolution RCMs."

(Carbon Brief will be publishing an article later this week exploring climate model projections of precipitation.)

To help overcome this issue, scientists have been developing very high resolution climate models. These have grid cells that are a few kilometres wide, rather than tens of kilometres. These "convective-permitting" models can simulate larger convective storms without the need of parameterisation. However, the tradeoff of having greater detail is that the models cannot yet cover the whole globe. Despite the smaller area - and using supercomputers - these models still take a very long time to run, particularly if scientists want to run lots of variations of the model, known as an "ensemble".

For example, simulations that are part of the Future Climate For Africa IMPALA project ("Improving Model Processes for African Climate") use convection-permitting models covering all of Africa, but only for one ensemble member, says Kendon. Similarly, the next set of UK Climate Projections, due next year ("UKCP18"), will be run for 10 ensemble members, but for just the UK. But expanding these convection-permitting models to the global scale is still some way away, notes Kendon:

"It is likely to be many years before we can afford [the computing power for] convection-permitting global climate simulations, especially for multiple ensemble members."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-how-do-climate-models-work
 
Description Fifth conference on Climate Change and Development for Africa (CCDA-5), October 2015, Victorial Falls, Zimbabwe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA) conference series was conceived as an annual forum to enable linkages between climate science and development policy by promoting transparent discussions between key stakeholders in the climate and development community. It coordinated by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC). A primary objective is to prepare Africa for the UNFCCC COP negotiations in the following December.

A presentation on IMPALA and FCFA was made in the Climate Science session of the conference and the FCFA programme was launched. There was lively discussion including follow of potential links with the World Bank's 'Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Africa's Infrastructure' programme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.climdev-africa.org/ccda5
 
Description IMPALA webinar: How can climate models be improved over Africa? Investigating global models with local knowledge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Webinar explained the benefits of process-based evaluation of climate models over Africa to accelerate model development and gave examples of process-based model evaluation, including for Central, East, Southern and West Africa. A key purpose was to foster interest in developing a model evaluation hub for Africa and to discuss that concept. •
The webinar had approximately 40 listeners attending for the duration, and, according to a closing poll 13 who would like to be involved in a hub and 21 who would like to stay informed. The webinar is now available on youtube, and has received 166 views.

The introductory text to the webinar is copied below:
Join Dr Rachel James as she discusses a new paper from a team of scientists from Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa and the UK. The paper, published in BAMS (the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society), calls for collaboration between international climate modellers and African scientists to deliver a dramatic improvement in our understanding of climate models over Africa.

Climate model experiments are increasingly being used by planners and risk managers in Africa to try to prepare for a changing climate. However, for many parts of Africa, there has been limited work to evaluate climate models' ability to capture key climate features. Furthermore, African climate systems are particularly tricky to represent in climate models. The paper highlights the importance of process-based model evaluation for Africa. By evaluating the processes that matter regionally, there is potential to inform model development, and ultimately improve models over Africa. This kind of work is also important to help understand the model output which is already available, and guide its use by decision makers.

The paper demonstrates examples of this kind of process-based model evaluation, including for Central, East, Southern and West Africa. In each region the analysis is guided by local expertise, led by scientists from the University of Yaounde I, University of Nairobi, and University of Cape Town. The authors highlight the potential to deliver a dramatic improvement in understanding of climate models over Africa.

This webinar will unpack the challenge of African model evaluation and introduce the work the FCFA IMPALA project is doing to turn an 'African lens' on climate models. It will also raise the longer term challenge of delivering sustained improvement in climate representation and prediction over the continent, and invite discussion of a potential African model evaluation "hub".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkCEkjedoWk
 
Description Met Office and SouthSouthNorth Side Event at COP22: From science to services: Improving climate resilience in Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The event shared learning from FCFA and other international research and Climate Information Service (CIS) programmes that are making fundamental advances in African climate science and its application. It also looked at the application of climate information to inform specific adaptation and development decisions in diverse African contexts. The discussion focused on key questions, including:
• What are the "burning questions" that are shaping frontier climate research and CIS for Africa?
• How can research agendas be aligned to support implementation of the Paris Agreement (notably Article 7)?
• How are scientific advances being translated into improved CIS to support development objectives?
• What are the key challenges to progressing this work?
• What are the key opportunities for partnerships and learning?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.futureclimateafrica.org/news/cop22-delegates-hear-how-african-climate-information-is-gett...
 
Description Oxford hosts global collaboration on Africa's climate conundrum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The text of the article is reproduced below:
"The climate of Africa represents a particular challenge to climate models," explains Catherine Senior, Head of Understanding Climate Change at the Met Office. "It is the representation of detailed local processes and feedbacks as well as the remote influence of large-scale modes of climate variability and the delicate interplay between them that present these challenges."

Historically, climate models have captured the weather systems of the midlatitudes better than those of the tropics, particularly so across Africa, where observations of those systems have been sparse. As a result these climate models have only a modest ability to capture African climate systems, and there is low scientific confidence in important aspects of the projections for Africa's climate in the next 5-40 years.

The Met Office has recognised this challenge and has made a concerted effort to improve it's climate model over Africa, made possible by funding from NERC and DFID. Engagement with scientists in universities is a fundamental to inform this model development, and through the Met Office Academic Partnership, scientists at SoGE have developed strong links to the modelling centre.

Collaboration with African scientists plays a crucial part in the latest efforts to tackle this major scientific hurdle. The processes that drive weather and climate are quite specific to each region, and, researchers from SoGE and the Met Office are now working closely with scientists from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and Cameroon to turn a local lens on the global climate model.

SoGE's Professor Richard Washington said "the gathering of like minds between UK universities, 10 African climate scientists and the Met Office is exactly the sort of partnership needed to move climate models forward in the face of the threats of climate in vulnerable communities. We are very grateful to DFID, NERC, the Met Office and the FCFA Mobility Fund for making this all a reality."

Babatunde Abiodun, an Associate Professor from University of Cape Town, added: "This is a unique opportunity for African and UK climate scientists to strategise together, not only on how to improve the UK Met model, but also on how to make the best use of the model outputs in addressing climate risks and challenges in Africa."

On Thursday, seventeen scientists delivered talks at the meeting, sharing the latest developments in African climate science with the wider group. Oxford contributions included SoGE's Neil Hart, who provided an update on his analysis of state-of-the-art simulations over southern Africa.

The meeting also provided an important opportunity for the NERC- and DFID-funded IMPALA project (Improving Model Processes For African Climate) that Professor Richard Washington leads the evaluation element of.

Scientists were able to feedback on promising results, as IMPALA nears the end of its 4-year life span, with noticeable improvements to the accuracy of climate models being reported and exciting results from ground breaking new high resolution models.

IMPALA set itself the challenge of making a step change in climate modelling for Africa, explains Cath Senior, who is Principal Investigator on the project:

"Through the new models we have developed - including the ground breaking high resolution pan-Africa, CP4-Africa simulations; the new physics we have implemented; the process-based model evaluation that has pulled through to model development and the new tools and techniques that have aided understanding - we feel we have risen to this challenge".

Wilfried Pokam, Lecturer in Physics at University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon, explains how his team have benefited from the partnership in IMPALA. "Involvement in hand-to-hand work with scientists from UK universities and the Met Office, through a model evaluation process, is a unique experience for African researchers, who have expertise in analysing African climate, but often limited opportunity to work directly with climate model data and with model developers."

"The gathering of like minds between UK universities, 10 African climate scientists and the Met Office is exactly the sort of partnership needed to move climate models forward in the face of the threats of climate in vulnerable communities."

Professor Richard Washington, Professor of Climate Science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/news/2018/0913-AfricaProcessEvaluationGroup.html
 
Description What are convection-permitting models and how can they improve understanding of extreme weather in Africa? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact IMPALA contributed to this online communication (by reviewing the article)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.futureclimateafrica.org/news/what-are-convection-permitting-models-and-how-can-they-impro...