About Attribution of Climate Events

Reanalysis plays a central role in determining what has happened in the climate system, while attribution is necessary to address the question of why the changes have occurred. Reanalysis is a method for constructing a high-quality climate data record that combines past observations collected from many differenct observing and measurement systems together within a model to produce a physically consistent picture of how the Earth's climate has evolved over time. The comprehensive nature of reanalysis data is especially important for understanding the physical processes that lead to extreme climate events such as droughts and floods as well as other key atmospheric features. [full brochure]

To kick off the ACE activity, a one day meeting was held at NCAR on 26 January 2009 to discuss the research needed to provide authoritative assessments of the causes of anomalous climate conditions and extreme weather events. [agenda] [participants] [presentations] [meeting report]

January 2009 Meeting Objectives

The objective of the ACE workshop meeting is to:

1) Develop a conceptual framework for attribution activities to be elevated in priority and visibility, leading to substantial increases in resources (funds, people, computer) and both a research activity and a framework for an "operational" activity, that sets forth a goal of providing a lot more concrete information in near real time about what has happened and why in weather and climate.

2) Begin to develop a document: perhaps based on Peter Stott's BAMS article, to a point where we can publish these ideas and promote them. BAMS is a good objective.

The latter serves several purposes. It raises the profile and sets out a framework for future activities that can be carried forward, for instance in the WCRP, and also sets out the relative roles of research organizations such as NCAR, and more operational entities, including parts of the Hadley Center and NOAA. In other words, it also sets forth a basis for future interactions and for funders and others to garner funds to support the collaborations.

Selected Topics