A German national project coordinates research on improving a global decadal climate prediction system for future operational use.
MiKlip, an eight-year German national research project on decadal climate prediction, is organized around a global prediction system comprising the climate model MPI-ESM together with an initialization procedure and a model evaluation system. This paper summarizes the lessons learned from MiKlip so far; some are purely scientific, others concern strategies and structures of research that targets future operational use.
Three prediction-system generations have been constructed, characterized by alternative initialization strategies; the later generations show a marked improvement in hindcast skill for surface temperature. Hindcast skill is also identified for multi-year-mean European summer surface temperatures, extra-tropical cyclone tracks, the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, and ocean carbon uptake, among others. Regionalization maintains or slightly enhances the skill in European surface temperature inherited from the global model and also displays hindcast skill for wind-energy output. A new volcano code package permits rapid modification of the predictions in response to a future eruption.
MiKlip has demonstrated the efficacy of subjecting a single global prediction system to a major research effort. The benefits of this strategy include the rapid cycling through the prediction-system generations, the development of a sophisticated evaluation package usable by all MiKlip researchers, and regional applications of the global predictions. Open research questions include the optimal balance between model resolution and ensemble size, the appropriate method for constructing a prediction ensemble, and the decision between full-field and anomaly initialization.
Operational use of the MiKlip system is targeted for the end of the current decade, with a recommended generational cycle of two to three years.