Erik and colleagues during the Nordic climate adaptation conference in Bergen in 2016

Hi and thanks for visiting. I'm a researcher at Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway. Below you'll find elements from my CV, which you can download here. Please get in touch by e-mail if you find any of this interesting :)

Research interests

  • Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasting
  • Climate change impacts and solutions
  • Polar lows and marine cold air outbreaks

Work experience

  • Current (from June 2015): Principal Researcher (Forsker I), Uni Research Climate (UNI) & Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR). I'm also co-leading the research group for regional climate and climate service at UNI
  • 2014–2015: Senior researcher (Forsker II) at UNI & BCCR
  • Current (from 2013): Co-founder of Suncurves
  • 2011–14: Senior researcher/developer at StormGeo
  • 2010: Head of the research group for global and regional climate projections at UNI & BCCR
  • 2007–10: Postdoctoral researcher, UNI & BCCR
  • 2003–07: Ph.D. student, Geophysical institute (GFI), University of Bergen (UiB) and BCCR
  • 2000–03: Programmer, ICEsoft AS (later aquired by WindRiver), Bergen
  • 1999–2000: Programmer, PMSC (later aquired by CSC), Bergen

Commissions of trust

  • Current (from 2017): Member of the steering committee of SNAP - the Stratospheric Network for the Assessment of Predictability. SNAP is a SPARC (Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate) network, and SPARC is a core project of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).
  • Current (from 2014) and for the IPY-THORPEX special edition in 2011: Associate editor of the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
  • 2015–2016: Board member of the Norwegian Geophyisical Union
  • Reviewer for Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, Journal of Geophysical Research–Atmospheres, Climate Dynamics, Geophysical Research Letters, Tellus A, Atmospheric Science Letters, and Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
  • Proposal reviewer for the US National Science Foundation



  • Number of peer-reviewed journal publications: 21
  • Number of first author publications: 13
  • H-index: 10 (Scopus), 11 (Google Scholar)




Before 2015

  1. Kolstad, E. W. (2006): A new climatology of favourable conditions for reverse-shear polar lows. Tellus A, 58, 344–354 [pdf]
  2. Kolstad, E. W. (2008): A QuikSCAT climatology of ocean surface winds in the Nordic Seas: identification of features and comparison with NCEP/NCAR reanalysis. Journal of Geophysical Research–Atmospheres, 113, D11106 [pdf]
  3. Kolstad, E. W. and T. J. Bracegirdle (2008): Marine cold-air outbreaks in the future: an assessment of IPCC AR4 model results for the Northern Hemisphere. Climate Dynamics, 30 (7–8), 871–885 [pdf]
  4. Kolstad, E. W., T. J. Bracegirdle and I. A. Seierstad (2009): Marine cold-air outbreaks in the North Atlantic: temporal distribution and associations with large-scale atmospheric circulation. Climate Dynamics, 33 (2): 187–197 [pdf]
  5. Bracegirdle, T. J. and E. W. Kolstad (2010): Climatology and variability of Southern Hemisphere marine cold-air outbreaks. Tellus A, 62: 202–208 [pdf]
  6. Kolstad, E. W., T. Breiteig and A. A. Scaife (2010): The association between stratospheric weak polar vortex events and cold air outbreaks in the Northern hemisphere. Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., 136, 886–893. DOI: 10.1002/qj.620 [pdf]
  7. Kolstad, E. W. and K. A. Johansson (2010): Uncertainties associated with quantifying climate change impacts on human health: a case study for diarrhea. Environ. Health Perspect., 119, 299–305
  8. Kolstad, E. W. and A. J. Charlton-Perez (2011): Observed and simulated precursors of stratospheric polar vortex anomalies in the Northern Hemisphere. Clim. Dynam., 37 (7–8), 1443–1456
  9. Reeve, M. A. and E. W. Kolstad (2011): The Spitsbergen South Cape tip jet. Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., 137, 1739–1748
  10. Kolstad, E. W. (2011): A global climatology of favourable conditions for polar lows. Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., 137, 1749–1761
  11. Kristjánsson, J. E., S. Thorsteinsson, E. W. Kolstad and A. M. Blechschmidt (2011): Orographic influence of East Greenland on a Polar Low over the Denmark Strait. Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., 137, 1773–1789
  12. Kristjánsson, J. E., I. Barstad, T. Aspelien, I. Føre, Ø. Godøy, Ø. Hov, E. Irvine, T. Iversen, E. W. Kolstad, T.E. Nordeng, H. McInnes, R. Randriamampianina, J. Reuder, Ø. Sætra, M. Shapiro, T. Spengler and H. Olafsson (2011): The Norwegian IPY-THORPEX: Polar Lows and Arctic Fronts during the 2008 Andøya campaign. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 92, 1443–1466
  13. Føre, I., J. E. Kristjánsson, E. W. Kolstad, T. J. Bracegirdle, Ø. Sætra and B. Røsting (2011): A “hurricane-like” polar low fueled by sensible heat flux: high-resolution numerical simulations. Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., 138, 1308–1324 [full text]
  14. Støren, E. W. N., E. W. Kolstad and Ø. Paasche (2012): Linking past flood frequencies in Norway to regional atmospheric circulation anomalies. J. Quaternary Sci., 27, 71–80 [full text]


  • Kolstad, E. W.: Higher ocean surface wind speeds during marine cold air outbreaks. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society [preprint]
  • Kolstad, E. W.: Causal Pathways for Temperature Predictability from Snow Depth. Journal of Climate

Other publications

  • Kristjánsson, J. E. and E. W. Kolstad (2011): IPY-THORPEX (editorial). Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., 137, 1657–1658
  • Mauritzen, C. and E. W. Kolstad (2011): The Arctic Ocean – an ocean in transition [pdf]


  • Ph.D. in meteorology, GFI, 2007. Thesis: Extreme winds in the Nordic Seas: polar lows and Arctic fronts in a changing climate
  • M.Sc. in applied mathematics (plasma dynamics), Dept. of Mathematics, UB, 1997. Thesis: Stability of a tokamak in the presence of a resistive wall
  • First year of technical studies at the INSA Toulouse, France, 1992–1993

About me

Erik W. Kolstad

I'm a researcher at Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway. I took my PhD in meteorology at the Geophysical institute at the University of Bergen in 2007, focusing mainly on polar lows and marine cold air outbreaks. After that I was lucky enough to be part of a substantial Norwegian IPY research project entitled IPY-THORPEX, led by the late Jón Egill Kristjánsson. From 2011 to 2014, I worked for the commercial weather company StormGeo in Bergen, before I came back “home” to Uni Research Climate and the Bjerknes Centre for climate research. Apart from polar meteorology, one of my main research interests is seasonal forecasting. This started somewhat by coincidence, when I met Adam Scaife and we started discussing whether stratospheric sudden warmings (SSWs) could potentially influence cold air outbreaks over the Northeast Atlantic, which would then mean that they influenced the probability of polar lows. We wrote a paper about that in QJRMS in 2010. In the recently started European Commission project Blue Action, I will pick this idea back up and study the predictability of cold air outbreaks (and indirectly of polar lows) on the seasonal time scale. In 2015, I also published the first paper in a series on month-to-month persistence and its physical pathways. Persistence is perhaps the most readily available source of predictability in the climate system, and is therefore a key predictor in empirical forecast models. The second paper, where the mechanisms for persistence are investigated, was recently accepted for publication in QJRMS.

I have long experience in leadership, co-production and outreach. In 2010, I was recruited as the head of the research groups for regional climate modelling and climate services at Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre. Currently, I co-lead the same research group at Uni Research Climate, where one of my main tasks is the nurture and establish new collaborations with researchers at other institutions, including from other disciplines. In this capacity, I will be involved in the newly established Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation at the University of Bergen. Inter-disciplinary research and climate service is my other main research interest. I lead the Research Council of Norway (RCN) funded HordaKlim project. This is a collaboration with Hordaland county, and the aim is to make future climate projections usable and relevant for users in municipalities and businesses in western Norway. User engagement, two-way communication and co-production are key words that describe this work. I’m also a work package leader in two other climate service projects, and I currently supervise one PhD student. When at StormGeo, I had the responsibility for all operational forecasts and hindcasts. I'm currently a member of the steering committee of SNAP - the Stratospheric Network for the Assessment of Predictability.

In terms of outreach, I have written or contributed to four popular science books, and I frequently write opinion articles in Norwegian newspapers. I am also often interviewed for newspaper articles, or for radio and TV, and I have several active web pages and blogs about weather and climate.

I'm currently leading an initiative to establish a new research centre for seasonal forecasting at the Bjerknes Centre. Please get in touch if this sounds interesting, whether you're a researcher or a potential user.


Seasonal Forecasting Engine

Budget: about 16M NOK. Main funder: The Research Council of Norway. Project period: 2017-2021

We're qualified for phase 1 of the IKTPLUSS project entitled "Ubiquitous data and services". Who gets to Phase 2 will be decided in December 2017. I'm the project leader.


Budget: about 6.2M NOK. Main funder: The Research Council of Norway. Project period: 2017-2020

The goal of HordaFlom is to reconstruct the frequency and severity of floods in Western Norway. One thing that became apparent when working on HordaKlim (see below) was that many municipalities are note even adapted to today's climate, let alone the climate of a warmer future. One of the reasons is that we don't have enough data to calculate 200-year return levels, which is the level used by municipalities when planning new infrastructure. What we aim to do is to use sediment cores from the bottom of lakes to reveal how floods have behaved in the past. Our aim is to use this information to constrain current 200-year return levels and to also constrain climate model projections for the future.


Budget: about 5.5M NOK. Main funder: The Research Council of Norway. Project period: 2015-2018

I lead this project, where the goal is to provide relevant information on future climate change to municipalities and businesses in Hordaland, western Norway. The project is inter-disciplinary, and has two main objectives. One is to communicate with the users in order to know what they need, but also to let them know what they can get. This two-way communication has been very interesting for all parties, and have led to a lot of surprising findings (at least for me). The other objective is to build a climate model for the region. The geography is dominated by mountains and fjords, so what we need are high-resolution numerical weather prediction models. Otherwise we would not have been able to capture all the local differences.

Blue Action

Budget: about €8M. Funding agency: The European Commission. Project period: 2016-2020

The main objective of this EU project is: To actively improve our ability to describe, model, and predict Arctic climate change and its impact on Northern Hemisphere climate, weather and their extremes, and to deliver valuated climate services of societal benefit. I lead two tasks.

The first task is called Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasting of severe weather, and is about finding out if severe weather such as polar lows is predictable on time scales of 10-90 days. We already know that individual weather events are not predictable that far ahead, but we want to check if the environments in which they form are predictable. For polar lows that would be cold air outbreaks, which I've studied a great deal with Tom Bracegirdle.

The second task is to apply the knowledge that we hopefully gain in the first task. We've partnered up with DNV GL to do this. What we want to do is to communicate and disseminate risks of polar lows by means of maps that will be tailored to high-level end-users and thus providing practical application of medium-to-long-range prediction of marine cold air outbreaks and polar lows, to limit risks for humans, business activities and the environment in the Arctic.


I usually give 20–30 presentations per year to a wide range of audiences, from scientific conferences (usually in English) to more popular science presentations at inter-disciplinary conferences (usually in Norwegian). Here's a selection:

Scientific presentations

  • Polar lows and Arctic fronts: mesoscale weather systems at high latitudes. EGU general assembly, Vienna, 2007 (invited)
  • Climate change: Impacts and adaptation. Strategies for developing a knowledge base from climate system studies. SANORD meeting, Cape Town, 2007 (invited)
  • Results from the IPY-THORPEX field campaign in 2008. SCAR/IPY open science conference in St Petersburg, 2008 (invited)
  • Extreme small-scale wind episodes over the Barents Sea — when, where and why? EGU general assembly, Vienna, 2015
  • Stratospheric Pathways to Enhanced Persistence of European Surface Temperatures. EGU general assembly, Vienna, 2015 [pdf]
  • Polar lows: Arctic hurricanes? Abisko polar prediction winter school, 2016 (invited)
  • Why are models unable to reproduce the annual cycle of temperature persistence? SPARC DynVar Workshop & S-RIP Meeting: The Large-Scale Atmospheric Circulation: Confronting Model Biases and Uncovering Mechanisms, Helsinki, 2016 [pdf]
  • What do climate service users need? And what can they get? 4th Nordic Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, Bergen, 2016 (invited) [pdf]

Other presentations

  • Climate change adaptation in Hordaland County (in Norwegian). Breakfast meeting for the labour union Naturviterne, Bergen, 2016 (invited)
  • Climate change and consequences for water management (in Norwegian). VA-dagene på Innlandet, Hamar, 2016 (invited)


I'm the author of four books, almost 20 opinion pieces in Norwegian newspapers, and I've been interviewed many times by newspapers, radio and TV in Norway. Here's a list in Norwegian:


  • Uvær. Cappelen, 2006.
  • Hva er KLIMA? (m/Øyvind Paasche.) Universitetsforlaget, 2009.
  • Kapittelet "Se på skyene" i Vilt vakkert vær, redigert av Siri Kalvig. CappelenDamm, 2009.
  • Kapittelet "Kvikksølv, kaos og klima" i P2-akademiet bind XLVI. Transit forlag, 2012.


  1. Det varme århundret. Bergens Tidende, 4. august 2003
  2. Jorden har feber. Bergens Tidende, 8. mai 2004 (tekst mangler)
  3. «Breene vokser!» Bergens Tidende, 6. juni 2005
  4. Hvit jul? Bergens Tidende, 3. september 2005
  5. Velkommen til fremtiden. Bergens Tidende, 12. desember 2006
  6. Vår tids klimaguide (m/Øyvind Paasche), Bergens Tidende, 19. september 2007
  7. Fredsprisen - en utfordring til Solheim. Adresseavisen, desember 2007
  8. Isen smelter fortsatt i Arktis. Dagsavisen, 31. september 2008
  9. «Ulidelig frysen og Stormende Slud». Bergens Tidende, 29. desember 2008
  10. En kald vinter i anmarsj? (m/Tarjei Breiteig),, 7. februar 2009
  11. Stoltenbergs klimaoptimisme. Bergens Tidende, 8. september 2009
  12. Derfor er værvarsling så vanskelig. Bergens Tidende, 27. mai 2011
  13. Forberedt på flom? Dagens Næringsliv, 5. november 2011
  14. Når været henger seg opp (m/Tarjei Breiteig). Stavanger Aftenblad, 10. november 2011
  15. Drittværet i et klimaperspektiv. Bergens Tidende, 7. juni 2015
  16. Jo, da – det blir bare våtere. Bergens Tidende, 8. januar 2016, også publisert på tograder
  17. Er vi forberedt på flom? (m/Øyvind Paasche). Bergens Tidende, 28. oktober 2016


  1. Det drypper inn (Ny Tid, 6. oktober 2006).
  2. I snakkehjørnet: Erik Kolstad (På Høyden, 22. september 2006).
  3. - Flya vil ryke først (BT, 2. januar 2007). Denne saken ble plukket opp av NTB, og gikk i mange medier, blant annet på NRK Alltid Nyheter, hvor jeg ble intervjuet.
  4. - Klimaskepsisen fordampa i rekordvarmt år (BT, 2. januar 2007). Parallellsak til den over.
  5. Ukens ugle (BT, 30. mars 2007)
  6. Mindre ekstremvêr i vente? (, 12. april 2007)
  7. Geofysiker: - Mindre ekstremvær i nord (Stavanger Aftenblad, 12. april 2007)
  8. - 2008 er orkanens år (Vårt Land, 2. september 2008)
  9. Frykter polarstormer (BT, 29. desember 2008)
  10. Vinteren er kommet for å bli (BT, 8. februar 2009)
  11. Kalde og fine ferieuker i vente? (, 11. februar 2009)
  12. Lagar lengre langtidsvarsel (, 2. september 2009)
  13. Supertrærne kommer snart (, 11. september 2009)
  14. Dette er de fem mest dødelige klimaendringene (, 19. september 2009)
  15. Drastisk Plan B mot hetere klode (Bergens Tidende, 18. november 2009)
  16. Klimaforsker spår mer snø (Stavanger Aftenblad, 5. januar 2010)
  17. Global oppvarming? (, 8. januar 2010). Dobbeltpublisert på
  18. Global oppvarming? I denne kulda? (, 8. januar 2010)
  19. Avlyser ikke oppvarmingen (Bergens Tidende, 10. januar 2010)
  20. Spår mini-istid i opptil 30 år (VG, 11. januar 2010)
  21. Luftstrøm fra Arktis gir rekordkulde (Adresseavisen, 14. januar 2010)
  22. Slutter å snakke om global oppvarming (Dagbladet, 21. januar 2010)
  23. Derfor har det vært kaldt i vinter (Stavanger Aftenblad, 19. februar 2010)
  24. Kulden skyldes varmt luftlag (Adresseavisen, 23. februar 2010)
  25. Sjeldent fenomen (VG, 23. februar 2010)
  26. Klimaet vil bli mildere (BA, 27. februar 2010)
  27. Kan bli flere polare lavtrykk (Fiskaren, 16. mars 2010)
  28. Vinteren då vinden forsvann (Bergens Tidende og Adresseavisen, 20. mars 2010)
  29. - Solflekker kan forklare kalde vintre (, 19. april 2010)
  30. Svak sol kan forklare den kalde vinteren (Stavanger Aftenblad, 25. april 2010)
  31. Svak sol kan forklare kald vinter (Aftenposten, 25. april 2010)
  32. Arktisk uvær kan bli fatalt (, 27. april 2010)
  33. Samarbeid om vær (Harstad Tidende, 6. mai 2010)
  34. Mildere vintre på sikt (VG, 11. juni 2010)
  35. Kaldeste halvår i Bergen på 36 år (BA, 11. juli 2010)
  36. En god nyhet om global oppvarming (, 22. september 2010)
  37. Klimaendring kan gi mindre ekstremboring (Dagens Næringsliv, 29. september 2010)
  38. Vet ikke nok om isvarmen (Bergens Tidende, 26. oktober 2010)
  39. Tror vinteren blir iskald (, 8. november 2010)
  40. Ny kald vinter? (, 9. november 2010)
  41. Derfor blir det så k-k-kaldt (VG, 2. desember 2010 og 3. desember)
  42. Sibir-snødekke gir ny ISKALD vinter (VG, 4. desember 2010)
  43. KALDEST på kloden (VG, 15. desember 2010)
  44. Ingen kald vinter i sikte (Bergens Tidende, 8. november 2012)
  45. Spår norsk SUPERSOMMER (VG, 25. april 2012)
  46. Hurra - nå sier kulda farvel (VG, 22. januar 2013)
  47. Vårvarmen kommer ikke før i mai (VG, 14. mars 2013)
  48. Meteorologer gir solhjelp til boligkjøpere (Bergens Tidende, 8. januar 2014)
  49. Sjekk hvor mye solen skinner med solskinns-weben (VG, 9. januar 2014)
  50. Vil lage klimamodell for Hordaland (Bergens Tidende, 30. oktober 2014)
  51. Derfor hang sommerværet seg opp (, 5. september 2015)
  52. Rustar Osterøy for ekstremvêr (Bygdanytt, 27. oktober 2015)
  53. Skreddersyr klimakunnskap for kommuner (Sysla Grønn, Bergens Tidende, 10. november 2015)
  54. Dyrere for de mest værutsatte (Bergens Tidende, 16. desember 2015, klikk her for papirversjonen)
  55. Kartet eiendomsmeglerne ikke ønsker å vise (Bergens Tidende, 20. januar 2016)
  56. Norsk forskning kan forbedre sesongvarslene (VG Nett, 12. mars 2016)
  57. Borer etter svar på bunn av Vangsvatnet (Bergens Tidende, 7. juni 2016)
  58. Flaumarkivet i Vangsvatnet (Hordaland, 7. juni 2016)
  59. Denne skal spå framtidas flaumkatastrofar (NRK Nett, 7. oktober 2016)
  60. Leitar etter gamle flaumar for å verna seg mot nye (, 30. januar 2017)


Jeg var involvert i Ekstremværuka 2006 i NRK. Her er en oversikt: I 2007 var jeg i Afrika, men her er en oversikt over det jeg var med på i Ekstremværuka 2008:
  • Newton, 21.9.08
  • Sveip, 23.9.08 (Dette er veldig morsomt. Vi hørte våre egne stemmer på øret med tre sekunders forsinkelse. Det er lett å se at vi ble satt helt ut og prater bare tull.)
  • Kveldsåpent, P1, 21. og 22.9.08
  • Verdt å vite, P2, 23.9.08
  • NRK1 Morgennytt, 22.9.08
  • NRK Rogaland, morgensendingen på radio, 24.9.08

Mer TV


  • Gjest med Øyvind Paasche i Søndagsåpent, NRK P1, 6. september 2009.
  • Et lengre intervju med Øyvind Paasche og meg i Naturens Verden på NRK P1 11. oktober 2009. Her er en mp3-fil (som tar lang tid å laste).
  • Jeg holdt foredrag i P2-akademiet 31. oktober 2009. Her er det en lydfil, og teksten i sin helhet ligger her.
  • Her og Nå, NRK P1, 5. november 2009.
  • P4-nyhetene, 7. januar 2010.
  • Spår kaldere vintre, NRK Hordaland, 7. januar 2010.
  • Naturens Verden, NRK P1, 10. januar 2010.
  • Vintrane har blitt stadig mildare, NRK Sogn og Fjordane, 11. januar 2010.
  • Gjest i Verdt å vite (NRK P2) i april 2010 om solflekker og Den nordatlantiske oscillasjon.
  • Gjest i Kveldsåpent (NRK P1) i november 2011, hvor jeg snakket om sesongvarsling.
  • Friluftsmagasinet, NRK P1, 22. november 2014. Om klima.
  • Gjest i Naturens verden, NRK P1, 15. november 2015. Om klimaendringer.
  • Gjest i Naturens verden, NRK P1, 12. juni 2016. Om feltarbeid i Vangsvatnet.

Contact info


Mobile phone: +47 411 22 457

Office phone: +47 555 82 432


Polar lows blog

Norwegian blog

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