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CECILIA - Central and Eastern European Climate Change Impact and Vulnerability Assessment

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Summary information

Funding:FP6 - Specific Targeted Research Project
Total cost:3367022
Ec contribution:2749891
Start date:2006-06-01
End date:2009-12-31
Duration:43 months
Coordinator:Tomas Halenka (
Organisation:Charles University - Czech Republic
Regio:Black Sea (hydrology, water quality and water management)
Keywords:Energy saving; energy storage; energy transport; environmental protection; fossil fuels; innovation; technology transfer; meteorology; policies; regional development; renewable sources of energy; resources of the sea; fisheries; scientific research; social aspects; transport; waste management
Project name:CECILIA - Central and Eastern European Climate Change Impact and Vulnerability Assessment
Project summary:Abstract
The main objective of CECILIA is to deliver a climate change impacts and vulnerability assessment in targeted areas of Central and Eastern Europe. Emphasis is given to applications of regional climate modelling studies at a resolution of 10 km for local impact studies in key sectors of the region. The project contains studies of hydrology, water quality and water management (focusing on medium-sized river catchments and the Black Sea coast), air quality issues in urban areas (Black Triangle — a polluted region around the common borders of the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany), agriculture (crop yield, pests and diseases, carbon cycle), and forestry (management, carbon cycle). Very high resolution simulations over this region are necessary due to the presence of complex topographical and land use features. Climate change impacts on large urban and industrial areas modulated by topographical and land-use effects which can be resolved at the 10 km scale, are investigated by CECILIA. The high spatial and temporal resolution of dense national observational networks of the CECILIA regional model experiments will uniquely feed into investigations of climate change consequences for weather extremes in the region under study. Comparisons of the results based on statistical downscaling techniques will also be provided. Statistical downscaling methods for verification localization of model output for impact studies will be performed.

After the political changes that occurred in countries of the former Eastern Block at the end of the 1980’s, climate change started to be taken into account to some extent at the governmental level. In particular, from the scientific point of view, at the beginning of the 90’s the access to information and data started to become a reality. Around the mid 90’s significant improvements in cooperation were promoted by the US Country Study Programme. Under this framework, many countries from the former Eastern Block obtained access to global climate-change scenarios and longer series of global climatological data. They participated in workshops on the use of this information for the assessment of climate-change impacts on agriculture, forestry, water management and health. Unfortunately, at that time there was very limited equipment to handle large amounts of data and, moreover, not sufficient know-how in this region to start real cooperation efforts in the field of climate-change modelling. However, this knowledge gap has been progressively eliminated and when the regional climate model RegCM appeared through ICTP in several countries of Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the 90’s, it proved the feasibility of carrying out regional climate change studies performed by local users in this area. Eventually the adaptation of a commonly used NWP model in LACE countries, i.e. the model ALADIN from Meteo-France, started in 2001 in Czech Republic and now the model, ALADIN-Climate, has taken part in the EC FP6 project ENSEMBLES. Thus, the door has been opened for real climate change impact and vulnerability assessments for central and eastern Europe based on locally provided high resolution regional climate modelling.

During the last decade regional climate models (RCMs) have been increasingly used to examine climate variations at scales that are not resolved by global models. To the extent that they produce realistic climate simulations, such models can be powerful tools in the study of regional climate impacts. Since the field of regional climate prediction is still evolving, the skill of RCMs in simulating climate variability has not been extensively evaluated. This is planned within the framework of the project ENSEMBLES for simulations of 50 to 25 km resolution driven by ERA40 reanalyses. As part of the ENSEMBLES project transient scenario runs of 100 — 150 year’s length are also planned under different greenhouse gases (GHG) and aerosol forcing. In this proposal we plan a detailed analysis and use of the results of the project ENSEMBLES for focused initial impact studies in our target region. However, one of the main objectives of this proposal is also to adapt a few of the models used for ENSEMBLES (ALADIN-Climate and RegCM) for very high resolution (grid spacing of 10 km) simulations over selected sub-domains, which will provide additional information related to the complex terrain of the region. The assessment of the role of significant but previously not resolved topographical features and land-use patterns will be provided in these experiments as well as the evaluation of the sensitivity of the simulations to the choice and size of the model domain. Moreover, development of new features in the parameterization of high resolution physics in the models is expected (e.g. cloud microphysics, chemistry of urban areas etc.). This will provide a connection with the EC FP6 Project QUANTIFY, which aims at quantifying the impact of transportation on climate change. Our project will also provide insights on the validation and relative merits of statistical and dynamical downscaling, in particular as applied to provide local climate information.
Main goal
The main goal of the proposal is to integrate results from different previous and ongoing modelling activities and approaches to provide the basis for very high resolution climate change impact and vulnerability assessment in important human activity sectors and natural ecosystems. It is prohibitive to cover within the STREP all the sectors in their complexity, so that we target our analysis on some key areas of specific interest to the region. For example, the flood and drought conditions which occurred in recent summers over the region highlight the importance of the hydrologic cycle and water management in the Elbe and Danube river catchments in response to changes in the occurrence of precipitation extremes. Impacts on agriculture and forestry influencing the economy of countries in the region will be studied with emphasis on the main productions in the area. The 2003 heat wave demonstrated the importance of studies of the health impacts of extreme conditions that would also lead to considerable changes in air quality, both regionally and in major urban centres. The proposed research will benefit greatly from previous and ongoing European projects and programmes with related objectives, e.g.:
- Modelling the Impact of Climate Extremes (MICE),
- Statistical and regional dynamical downscaling of extremes for European regions (STARDEX),
- Prediction of Regional scenarios and Uncertainties for Defining European Climate change risks and Effects (PRUDENCE),
- ENSEMBLE-based Predictions of Climate Changes and their Impacts (ENSEMBLES),
- Quantifying the Climate Impact of Global and European Transport Systems (QUANTIFY),
The overall aim of this proposal is to assess the impact of climate change at the regional to local scale for the territory of central and Eastern Europe, with emphasis on using very high climate resolution in order to capture the effects of the complex terrain of the region. From the viewpoint of climate scenario production, this goal will be achieved through a strategy of multiple and combined approaches, namely variable resolution models, RCMs and statistical downscaling methodologies. The primary tools, however, will be very high resolution RCMs run locally for targeted areas. From the impact viewpoint, the most important sectors for the economies and welfare of individual countries will be selected. These objectives will be achieved through the execution of the following specific tasks:
- To collect, assess and make available for first local impact studies the scenarios and climate simulations produced in previous relevant projects, especially PRUDENCE, STARTDEX, MICE and ENSEMBLES, where available.
- To adapt and develop very high resolution RCMs for the region (10 km grid spacing) and perform regional time-slice nested simulations driven by ERA40 data and by GCMs for selected GHG change scenarios.
- To verify the model results, compare RCM and statistical downscaling results, analyze and develop the methods for verification, particularly at local scales. To estimate the effect of global climate change on the occurrence of extreme events (heavy precipitation, heat waves, droughts) in the region, including the assessment of the added value of high-resolution experiments for the simulation of the relevant processes and feedbacks.
- To evaluate uncertainties in regional climate change projections by intercomparing results obtained in previous projects (PRUDENCE, ENSEMBLES) and the present ones.
- To assess (based on the high resolution downscaling results) the impacts of climate change on the hydrological cycle and water resources over selected catchments in the region; to study the effects of climate change on the Black Sea.
- To study (based on the high resolution downscaling results) the impacts of climate change on agriculture and forestry, carbon cycle and selected species.
- To study (based on the high resolution downscaling results) the impacts of climate change on health and air quality (photochemistry of air pollution, aerosols).