Climate research is about uncovering all elements that influence the climate and discovering the way they interact. Computational modelling on HPC systems is a crucial part of this research.

Regional climate studies @ KU Leuven

The research group Regional Climate Studies aims at an improved understanding of climate processes and feedback mechanisms acting at the regional to local scale via regional climate models which are a numerical representation of the climate system [1] . To do this, these models are applied to different regions of the world and combined with the analysis of ground- and satellite-based observations. An important part of the research group work deals with evaluating and improving these climate models. The main topics of study are:

  • Urban climate
  • Surface-atmosphere interactions
  • Polar climate
  • Climate scenarios for the future

The research group is also involved in the CORDEX project for which Regional Climate Models, (applied over a limited area) are driven by Global Climate Models, in order to provide information on much smaller scales and hence supporting more detailed impact and adaptation assessment and planning for climate change.

Computational study

Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and ice. In contrast to meteorology, which focuses on short-term weather systems lasting up to a few weeks, climatology studies the frequency and trends of those systems for longer periods. Applying climate models on historical data helps to evaluate and further refine the models to give a better simulation of the future.

The most important computational tool used is the Cosmo-CLM model, a non-hydrostatic regional climate model. The model has been used for simulations on time scales up to centuries and spatial resolutions between 1 and 50 km. Increased computational resources means that regional climate models are able to resolve climate features in regional climate models at higher resolution but also integrate more input parameters in the model.

Help of VSC

The VSC is essential for our research. We need the high-performance computational facilities to perform this research, that VSC offers. In addition, the VSC has been indispensable in the installation of our code on the computational facilities. Climate models are complex numerical codes, and an efficient use of these models on different architectures requires specialized knowledge. The VSC has been able to provide this support, in a user-supportive way.

Links

Home page of the Regional Climate Studies research group.

References

  1. De Ridder, K., B. Maiheu, H. Wouters en N. van Lipzig (2015). Indicatoren van het stedelijkehitte-eiland in Vlaanderen, Studie uitgevoerd in opdracht van de VlaamseMilieumaatschappij, MIRA
  2. Wouters, H., Demuzere, M., De Ridder, K., Van Lipzig, N. (2015). The impact of impervious water-storage parametrization on urban climate modelling. Urban Climate, 11, 24-50. ( Paper on ResearchGate)
  3. Picture reference: Urban heat island over Belgium during the August 2012 heat wave, MaccBet Modelling Atmospheric composition and climate for the Belgian Territory