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Working Group "Regional Climate and Water Cycle", Leader Dr. Gerd Schädler

Climate and water cycle determine the living conditions on Earth and affect, for example, agriculture, forestry, water management and the availability of drinking water. Climate and precipitation – one of the main components of the water cycle - within a region depend on geographical position, topography, soils and prevailing land use. Therefore, they often show a pronounced variability in time and space, even over small distances. It is also often observed that the spatial distribution of extremes differs considerably from the one for average values, e.g. patterns of heavy precipitation differ from the patterns of annual precipitation sums. Knowledge of the past, present and future behaviour of climate and water cycle on regional scales is essential for climate adaptation and planning issues, and the gaps in our understanding of this multi-component, multi-scale system need to be filled. Numerical models are a suitable tool for these purposes. Our working group is engaged in the modelling, the analysis and the interpretation of the intimately connected topics water and climate on the regional scale with high spatial resolution.

We use the regional climate model COSMO-CLM to produce ensembles of regional climate simulations. Single simulations can give a first overview, but due to the many factors affecting climate (some of them with non-deterministic behaviour), ensembles of simulations are indispensable to estimate the range of possible outcomes.


Recent extensions of our activities include:

  • Regional climate predictions (as opposed to climate projections) with lead times between years and decades.

  • High spatial variability in complex terrain and realistic accounting of extremes require a high spatial model resolution. We therefore perform multidecadal (present and near future) very high resolution (0.025°) climate simulations for Central Europe.

  • Regional paleoclimate modelling with a focus on ice sheets and water isotopes.


For more information, see "Research".