International Workshop in Polar-Lower Latitude Linkages and their Role in Weather and Climate Prediction

A joint initiative by WWRP-PPP and WCRP-PCPI. A workshop on invitation only. 

10 December, 1pm - 12 December, 5 pm, 2014, Barcelona, Spain.


At a glance

Objective: The aim of the workshop is to gain an overview of our current understanding of polar-lower latitude linkages and their implications for prediction and services and to formulate recommendations that will guide international future research activities. 

Structure: The workshop will consist of key note talks by invited speakers, challenger talks, poster sessions (format A0, portrait), breakout group sessions and a plenary session.

Attendees: Scientists and representatives from international programmes, prediction centres and funding agencies. 

Expected outcome: Enhancing the scientific network on the topic of polar/non-polar connections and producing a set of recommendations that will be broadly disseminated as a report.

Three key topics will be covered in breakout groups. The outcome will be presented in a plenary session:

Key topics

Atmospheric processes and mechanisms

There have been increases in severe weather and climate events in mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere in the last decade, including heat waves, flooding, and cold winters. During the same period, major changes have taken place in the Arctic including Arctic amplification, loss of sea ice and reduced late spring snow cover. While forcing of atmospheric changes in the Arctic are clear, attribution of mid-latitude extreme events to the Arctic high-latitude changes is difficult and controversial due to short record lengths and the largely chaotic flow at mid-latitudes. Compared to the Arctic, the changes in the Southern Hemisphere are more limited. Nevertheless, sea ice and ocean surface temperature display larger interannual variations that could potentially influence the development of large-scale modes of atmospheric variability such as the Southern Annular Mode and, thus, the mid-latitude conditions.

Some of the questions to address are:

  • Where did increases in severe weather in the mid-latitudes in the last decade, including heat waves, flooding, and cold winters, originate?
  • What is their link to major changes in the Arctic?

Oceanic Processes and Mechanisms

Much focus has fallen on polar-mid-latitude atmospheric linkages in recent years with the polar oceans having received relatively little attention. However, the polar oceans have played an important role in dramatic events of the past such as the ‘great salinity anomalies’ of the North Atlantic that resulted in shifts in the strength of the meridional overturning circulation , and might be influenced by changes in ocean heat transport from lower latitudes and local forcings. Furthermore, changes in the heat storage of the Southern Ocean influence the state at the surface on interannual to multi-decadal timescales and might have an impact on the ocean at lower latitudes. This indicates that skill in predicting important mid-latitude variables could be harnessed from oceanic processes at seasonal-to-decadal timescales.

Some of the questions to address are:

  • How important are oceanic processes in determining the climate of the lower latitudes?
  • On what time scales do oceanic teleconnections play a role?

Implications for Prediction and Services 

The presence of atmospheric and oceanic teleconnections linking the polar regions with the lower latitudes is expected to have implications for mid-latitude prediction across a wide range of time scales. Relatively poor observational coverage in the Arctic, for example, may have a detrimental influence on forecast skill over North America and Europe. At the same time, sea ice provides a source of memory and therefore could lead to enhanced extended-range predictability in lower latitudes that might not be fully exploited in existing forecasting systems. A better understanding of the links is key to obtain insight where and to what extent future investments in forecasting system development in polar regions (e.g. observing system and coupled models) will provide benefit for the prediction of weather and climate in lower latitudes and hence different service sectors such as energy, transport, insurance and agriculture.

Some of the questions to address are:

  • Does polar weather and climate affect the predictions of the occurrence of high-impact weather and climate events in the mid-latitudes?
  • How to assess the value of forecasting system development in the polar regions for predictive weather and climate information for decision making in lower latitudes?

Confirmed keynote speakers

  • Elizabeth Barnes, Colorado State University
  • Richard Bintanja, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
  • Randall Dole, NOAA
  • Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University
  • Marika Holland, NCAR
  • Michael Karcher, Alfred Wegener Institute

Confirmed challenger speakers

  • Matthieu Chevallier, Météo France  
  • Hugues Goosse, Université catholique de Louvain
  • Jun Inoue, JAMSTEC
  • Trond Iversen, Norwegian Meteorological Institute
  • Hisashi Nakamura, University of Tokyo
  • Sabrina Plagemann, DWD
  • Andrey Proshutinsky, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • James Screen, University of Exeter
  • Ted Shepherd, University of Reading
  • Michael Sigmond, Environment Canada
  • Bingji Wu, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences


Novotel Barcelona City Hotel

Avenida Diagonal, 201
Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 26 24 99

Travel to meeting venue

From Barcelona airport every 5-10 min. by AEROBUS to Plaça de Catalunya. From there by Metro L1 to Glòries. 5 min. walk to Novotel. (Tram T4, bus lines 7, H12, N7)


List of hotels

Barcelona in 2 minutes on vimeo

Scientific committee

  • Francisco Doblas-Reyes (co-chair, WGSIP and SPECS)
  • Thomas Jung (co-chair, WWRP-PPP and Arctic ECRA)
  • Frédéric Vitart (WWRP, S2S)
  • James Overland (IASC),
  • Thomas Spengler (IAMAS-ICDM and IASC)
  • David Bromwich (IAMAS-ICPM and WWRP-PPP),
  • Cecilia Bitz (WCRP-PCPI)
  • Hugues Goosse (WCRP-PCPI)
  • Jonny Day (APECS)
  • Claus Brüning (European Commission)
  • Vladimir Ryabinin (WCRP)
  • Carlo Buontempo (EUPORIAS)

Organising committee

  • Fransisco Doblas-Reyes
  • Thomas Jung, AWI
  • Gabriela Tarabanoff, IC3
  • Matthieu Chevallier, Météo-France
  • Virginie Guemas, IC3 and Météo-France
  • Neven Fuckar, IC3
  • Ramiro Saurral, CIMA and University of Buenos Aires
  • Javier García-Serrano, IPSL
  • Francois Massonnet, UCL


  • Francisco Doblas Reyes
  • Thomas Jung
  • Gabriela Tarabanoff

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