Short description of the project
Severe convective storms are a primary cause of catastrophic loss through property damage and life-threatening weather conditions. These events are characterized by the presence of heavy convective storms, lightning that can initiate wildfires, strong and damaging winds (e.g., wind gusts), as well as heavy rain that can cause flash floods and hail. Due to sparse observations and inability of conventional climate models to represent these local weather phenomena, our understanding of severe weather events and their response to a changing climate is still very limited.
Advances in computational power and recent developments in atmospheric modeling have enabled the use of climate models at kilometer-scale horizontal resolutions. These so-called convection-resolving models (CRMs) resolve deep convective events such as thunderstorms and rain showers. Such models have been used for numerical weather forecasting purposes for over a decade. Although these models improve the simulation of heavy precipitation, their application for climate studies and the analysis of severe convective events, like lightning, hail and severe winds, has been very limited.
The SWALDRIC project will investigate severe weather events over Europe, with a specific focus on the Alpine and Adriatic region. The main goals of the project are to better understand severe weather events, to evaluate their representation in weather and climate models, and to investigate their response to climate change. Key elements of the project are: the exploitation of a unique Croatian hail-pad data set, the exploration and intercomparison of a wide range of different atmospheric (weather and climate) modeling systems, and the use of kilometer-scale pan-European decade-long simulations using the first regional climate modeling framework able to run entirely on Graphics Processing Units (COSMO-GPU).
The project will not only deepen the collaboration of Swiss and Croatian scientists, but will also contribute to the general understanding of severe weather events, and their response to the further warming and moistening of the atmosphere. This will be the first time that climate changes of severe weather events will be addressed in such high-resolution simulations over pan-European scales.
The main objective: A better understanding of severe weather events, evaluation of their representation in weather and climate models and investigation of their response to climate change.
Climate analysis of hail data.
Examination of the relationship between lightning jumps and hail.
Determination of weather types/wind regimes which favor the formation of hail.
Simulation of hail events using the WRF-HAILCAST model.
Examination of the ability of CRMs in reproducing hail cases.
Analysis of severe weather events in a future climate.
Total project financing value: 379.979,00 CHF (Swiss side) + 192.061,00 CHF (Croatian side)
The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and Croatian Science Foundation.
Project implementation period: 1.3.2019-1.3.2022