Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

The Italian National Research Council (CNR) is the largest public research institution in Italy. Its duty is to carry out, promote, spread, transfer and improve research activities in the main sectors of knowledge growth and of its applications for the scientific, technological, economic and social development of the Country. To this end, the activities are divided into macro areas of interdisciplinary scientific and technological research and the CNR is structured into 7 Departments.

The Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC) belongs to the Earth and Environmental Department, whose research activities cover the full range of Earth science, including some of this century’s key environmental issues as Climate Change, Natural Hazards and Sustainability of Natural Resources. ISAC employs over 200 staff members to conduct pure and applied research on atmospheric sciences and the climate system. The objectives of the Climate And Meteorology, models and Earth Observations (CAMEO) group, the research unit involved in this proposal, include the characterization of Earth’s climate and of its past, present and future variability, the analysis of fundamental processes of climate dynamics, the development of numerical tools apt to simulate and predict the physical and dynamical processes responsible for climate variability. In particular, the research group undertakes research in: Climate sensitivity and climate predictability from sub-seasonal to centennial timescales; Studies of climate processes (including climate transitions) with a hierarchy of climate simulators including climate downscaling with dynamical and stochastic methods; High resolution climate reconstructions and future scenarios.

ISAC-CNR has significant expertise in:

  • Land surface modeling and in developing beyond-state-of-the-Art land-atmosphere coupling approaches that are aimed at improving Earth system predictions on multiple time scales.
  • Performing retrospective prediction experiments using EC-Earth and with improved land surface-vegetation representation.
  • Analysing climate variability and in verifying the performance of climate prediction systems with available observations/reanalysis.
  • Understanding and quantifying effects of land surface-vegetation processes on prediction performance and in identifying the sources of climate prediction skill coming from local processes vs. remote teleconnections.

CNR-ISAC will work on the following in CONFESS:

  • Recover and prepare vegetation Fractional Cover (FCOVER) from CGLS (10-daily; 1999-present) to target model resolution consistent with LAI from C3S/CGLS and EC from ESA-CCI.
  • Develop a parametrisation for the vegetation effective cover variability as a function of vegetation state (e.g. Lambert-Beer Law based on LAI) for each of the vegetation types described by the ESA-CCI land cover.
  • Perform and analyse land-only simulations with the land surface model we use in EC-Earth (HTESSEL-LPJ-Guess).
  • Produce and analyse multi-year forecasts using EC-Earth to study impact of land surface-vegetation.
  • Evaluate the impact of improved land-vegetation varying conditions on seasonal and multi-year forecasts.

The unprecedented global-scale observations from Copernicus will allow CNR-ISAC to embrace a substantial development of the land surface model we use in EC-Earth by better constraining the land surface-vegetation parameterizations. In CONFESS, this is expected to significantly advance towards our strategic goal in filling the gap between the models used for short-term prediction (verification-based) and the latest developments in the Earth System Models (process-based). The monitoring and forecasting of temperature and hydrological trends and extremes over land will benefit from the envisaged progresses in modeling and initialization.