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

The purpose of the workshop was to review our current understanding of the workshop theme, identify known and unknown issues, define ways forward for closing important knowledge gaps, recommend specific activities for international programmes such as PPP and the Polar Climate Predictability Initiative (PCPI) and to provide research priorities for funding agencies. The workshop started by having a set of keynote and challenger presentations; this was followed by several hours of breakout group discussions for the three different themes: (1) atmospheric linkages, (2) oceanic linkages and (3) prediction and services; finally recommendations were presented and discussed in a plenary session.

The workshop was attended by 80 participants from 20 different countries, including a substantial number of early-career scientists. Those who were not able to come to Barcelona had the opportunity to follow most of the workshop activities online; up to 30 online participants at a time took advantage of this opportunity.

One important outcome of the workshop is the following list of high-level recommendations: 

  • Improve our understanding of the key processes in atmosphere, snow, sea ice and ocean responsible for linking the polar regions with the lower latitudes. Progress will hinge on an improved observational base and on bringing expertise in high-latitude and middle-latitude dynamics together;
  • Ensure that these key processes are well represented in models used to carry out weather and climate predictions. This task includes model assessment as well as development;
  • Link the research performed for weather and climate forecasting with that carried out to project future climate to obtain the largest benefit from their synergies. This task should be planned well ahead of the CMIP6 exercise;
  • The community must distinguish between a potential influence on the net seasonal response and the possibility of regional episodic amplification of existing long wave patterns and related short-term weather events;
  • Carry out coordinated model experiments to thoroughly assess possible remote impacts of polar climate change. Initially, the emphasis should be put on global consequences of Arctic amplification;
  • Explore the limits of predictability of polar weather and climate and their role for mid-latitude forecasting;
  • Determine the impacts of enhanced predictive capacity in the polar for mid-latitude forecasting by carrying out coordinated forecasting experiments (e.g. data denial and relaxation experiments). Studying linkages from a (sub-seasonal ) prediction perspective allows to better understand the prediction process and to verify polar-lower latitude pathways;
  • Ensure that prediction and model assessment requirements will have a high priority in the future development of the polar observing systems. The Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP), which will be held from mid-2017 to mid-2019, provides a unique opportunity for the international community to jointly advance our observational capacity;
  • Create a working group to tackle the specificity of polar service provision. This working group could illustrate the benefits that stakeholders with interests at lower latitudes might have in improving polar predictions,
  • Simplify the funding process for research collaboration on an international level. 

See also the published workshop report.

All keynote and challenger talks have been recorded. The slides and audios are available here.

Discussions that took place during the workshop have also been taken up in a recent Science feature.

Back to main workshop page.