Polar Climate Predictability Workshop Summary

Contributed by Marilyn Raphael and Julie Jones.

The Polar Climate Predictability Initiative (PCPI) aims to bring together scientists engaged in research on polar climates, including the atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere.  Its purpose is to develop a coordinated program of research to improve the predictability of Polar Climates at longer timescales.  A first meeting was held in Bergen, Norway, in October 2010.  This was followed up by a three-day workshop in April 2012 at the University of Toronto in Canada, the aim of which was to produce a draft implementation plan on Polar Climate Predictability to be considered at the JSC meeting in July 2012. Keynote presentations were followed by focus groups, which were tasked to identify key scientific frontiers, the imperatives to address these, and focused scientific topics.

Among the key questions identified were understanding why the climates at the two poles are changing so differently to each other, why climate models have problems in capturing this observed behavior in Polar regions, how predictable is the Arctic climate, and what does the high latitude climate change mean for climates at lower latitudes?  Among the opportunities for progress considered necessary to address these frontier questions were continued development of more comprehensive global models, and identification of the observations that are needed, both for initialization of models, and for monitoring of variability and long-term changes.  Examples of specific initiatives identified are improved knowledge and understanding of past climate variations in the polar regions, and assessment of the performance of reanalyses and the CMIP5 models in polar regions.
A sequence of actions or implementation mechanisms necessary to carry out the imperatives was discussed.  These include targeted workshops, and coordinated activities such as dataset assessments or coordinated model experiments.  These ideas were presented to the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee meeting in Beijing, in July, 2012. The PCPI will be a sub-initiative of the ‘Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ WCRP Grand Challenge.

Read the Implementation Strategy document for the WCRP Polar Climate Predictability Initiative (PCPI) in the CliC media gallery. As more information becomes available it will be posted on this website.