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Working group “Weather systems: Dynamics and predictability”, headed by Prof. Dr. Sarah Jones.

Reliable numerical weather prediction is essential for providing timely information about impending high impact weather events, and which then allows stakeholders to take appropriate measures in preparing for these events. Research that increases our knowledge and understanding of the dynamics as well as the predictability of these weather systems is a requirement for further improving numerical weather prediction.


High impact weather systems, i.e. weather systems that are associated with high societal and/or high economic impacts, usually develop on a wide range of scales – ranging from tens of kilometers up to several thousands of kilometers. From a temporal view, it is possible for weather systems from for example the tropics to impact the weather over Europe within days to up to around two weeks. Examples of this are provided by North Atlantic tropical cyclones which recurve into the mid-latitudes and transform into extra-tropical cyclones in a process known as extratropical transition (ET). Furthermore, tropical deep convection – which itself might occur on timescales from hours to a few days – has the ability to modify the atmospheric flow in the mid-latitudes. These tropical/extratropical interactions are difficult to forecast and are frequently found to cause errors in numerical weather prediction. The results of these errors in turn contribute to decreases in reliability of the weather forecasts for Europe.

The focus of the group’s research is directed towards improving numerical weather prediction by decreasing the errors that arise due to certain weather systems or which might be caused by tropical/extratropical interactions. Advancing this research requires in-depth understanding of relevant physical processes, identification of key factors impacting predictability and hence to quantify the inherent uncertainty of the forecasts themselves.

Current research conducted within the group:

  • Tropical cyclones and their transformation into extratropical systems, as well as their impact on downstream weather systems in the mid-latitudes. More…

  • Dynamics and predictability of idealized tropical cyclones – utilizing models based on adaptive numerical methods. More…

  • Blocking – persistent high pressure weather systems in mid-latitudes