Ensemble-based predictions of climate changes and their impacts


Project timeline
September 2004
60 months
August 2009
General Information
Prediction of both natural climate variability and the human impact on climate is inherently probabilistic, due to uncertainties in forecast initial conditions, representation of key processes within models, and climatic forcing factors. Hence, reliable estimates of climatic risk can only be made through ensemble integrations of Earth-System Models in which these uncertainties are explicitly incorporated. For the first time, a common ensemble climate forecast system will be developed for use across a range of timescales (seasonal, decadal and longer) and spatial scales (global, regional and local). This model system will be used to construct integrated scenarios of future climate change, including both non-intervention and stabilisation scenarios. This will provide a basis for quantitative risk assessment of climate change and climate variability, with emphasis on changes in extremes, including changes in storminess and precipitation and the severity and frequency of drought, and the effects of "surprises", such as the shutdown of the thermohaline circulation. Most importantly, the model system will be extensively validated. Hindcasts made by the model system for the 20th century will be compared against quality controlled, high resolution gridded datasets for Europe. Probability forecasts made with the model system on seasonal and decadal timescales will also be validated against existing data. The exploitation of the results will be maximised by linking the outputs of the ensemble prediction system to a wide range of applications. In turn, feedbacks from these impact areas back to the climate system will also be addressed. Thus ENSEMBLES will have a structuring effect on European research by bringing together an unprecedented spectrum of world leading expertise. This expertise will be mobilised to maintain and extend European pre-eminence in the provision of policy relevant information on climate and climate change and its interactions with society.
EU-Programme Acronym and Subprogramme AreaFP6-2002-Global-1, Prediction of climate change and its impact
Project TypeIntegrated Project
Contract NumberGOCE-CT-2003-505539
Co-ordinatorMet Office, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (UK)
Total Eligible Costs (€) HZG Eligible Costs (€) EC Funding for HZG (€)
Contact Person at HZG Prof. Corinna Schrum, KS, Institute for Coastal Research, Phone: +49 4152 87 1833 (initial contact: Prof. Hans von Storch, Institute for Coastal Research)
E-mail contact
Worldwide Europe

Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CZ), Institute of Atmospheric Physics AS CR (CZ), Nansen Environmental and RemoteSensing Center (NO), Administratia Nationala de Meteorologie (RO), Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e l'Ambiente dell'Emilia-Romagna, Servizio Meteorologico Regionale (IT), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GR), Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (AU), Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo (NO), Centre European pour le Recherche et la Formation Avancée en Calcul Scientifique (CERFALS) (FR), Charles University Prague (CZ), Climpact (FR), CNRS (FR), CNR, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Bologna (IT), Columbia University New York (US), Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DK), Danish Meteorological Institute (DK), Deutscher Wetterdienst (DE), Ecole Normale Supérieure (FR), European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (UK), European Commission (BE), Fachhochschule für Technik Stuttgart (DE), Finnish Meteorological Institute (FI), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (IT), Freie Universität Berlin (DE), Fundación para la Investigación del Clima (ES), Institut Universitaire Kurt Boesch (CH), Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (ES), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (AT), Intitutul National de Hidrologie si Gospodarire a Apelor Bucuresti (RO), Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (NL), London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), Lunds Universitet (SE), Météo France, Centre de Recherches Météorologiques (FR), Met Office, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (UK), Meteoschweiz (CH), National Observatory of Athens (GR), Norwegian Meteorological Institute (NO), Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung e.V. (DE), Research Centre for Agriculture and Forest Environment, PAS, Poznan (PL), Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (NL), Societé de Mathématiques Appliquées et de Sciences Humaines (FR), Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SE), The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physis (IT), Universidad de Cantabria (ES), Universidad de Castilla la Mancha (ES), Universita degli Studi di Firenze (IT), Universität Hamburg (DE), Universität Kassel (DE), Universität Stuttgart (DE), Universität zu Köln (DE), Université Catholique de Louvain (BE), Université de Fribourg (CH), Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble (FR), University of Bristol (UK), University of Liverpool (UK), University of Oslo (NO), University of Oxford (UK), University of Reading (UK), Weather Informatics Ltd. (UK), World Health Organisation, WHO (CH)

(completed August 2009)

Last Update: 01. June 2017