Wednesday, 17 January 2007: 11:45 AM
A unified approach to weather, climate, and earth-system prediction for the 21st century
214D (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Recent advances in atmospheric, oceanographic, Earth system and socioeconomic sciences, and Earth-observations and computer technology afford the opportunity for further improvements in the accuracy of weather forecasts and climate predictions, and in their use and value to society. These advances include: i) knowledge of the theoretical and practical limits of atmospheric, and oceanic predictability, including the influence of climate variability on high-impact weather events; ii) expanding observations of the Earth system with satellite, airborne, marine and land-based observing technologies and their utilization for monitoring and prediction of weather and climate and their two-way interaction with geochemical and biological systems; iii) advanced weather and climate prediction procedures aided by improvements in numerical methods, representations of physical processes, probabilistic (ensemble) prediction techniques, and the exponential increase in the memory of super computers; iv) the societal, economic and environmental utilization of weather, climate and Earth-system information to assess and mitigate the impact of weather hazards, climate variability and climate change. In the same way that the atmosphere encompasses the Earth, the expertise to exploit and further these advances resides across many nations, international organizations, and diverse scientific disciplines. It is anticipated that the largely artificial distinction between weather, climate and Earth-system prediction will transition into a unified approach, leading to a “seamless” suite of products applicable on all relevant decision-making time and space scales. Advancing the skill of high-impact weather, climate and complex Earth-system predictions to assist policy makers and stakeholders of global societies to enable sound decisions regarding mitigation of the impacts of weather, climate and environmental hazards represents one of the foremost scientific and societal challenges of the 21century. This paper presents an overview of recent advances in weather, climate and complex Earth-system prediction and the opportunities for further advancements.