System Analysis and Modelling
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(Photo: Sabine Billerbeck / HZG)

Regional Land and Atmosphere Modelling

Global climate models describe the global climate change for the next decades reasonably well. However, they lack performance on regional and local scales due to their coarse grid mesh.

The major research area of the group for regional land and atmosphere modelling is the description of climate and hydrological change on the regional scale. Together with several other institutes the group developed a regional climate model for the atmosphere on the basis of the high-resolution weather forecast model of the German Weather Service (DWD). Unlike in the day-to-day weather forecasts the regional climate model can simulate on a range of temporal scales from months to several decades up to a few centuries.

While global climate models presently have a grid mesh size of about 100-200 km, the regional climate model at HZG can be applied on grid mesh sizes down to about three km. This high resolution enables the group to consider the development of extreme events or the effect of wind farms. An important group activity is also the coupling between different compartments of the coastal system such as atmosphere/land, hydrology and the ocean.

In addition, the group focuses on the transport modelling of water and compounds at the land surface, e.g. in lakes and rivers, in order to represent the water and biogeochemical cycles at the land-ocean interface. This information is also used by other groups working on ocean and ecosystem modelling. The group has developed a high-resolution discharge model that already comprises an initial framework for the transport of biogeochemical constituents in rivers, and that supports the regional focus of coupled model applications.

The group for regional land and atmosphere modelling participates in several national and international projects.