I'm a researcher at NORCE 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.
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.
CONFER: Co-production of Climate Services for East Africa
Budget: about €7M. Funding agency: The European Commission. Project period: 2020-2024
We are currently preparing the grant agreement, and the project will start in September 2020. I will be the PI.
CONFER is a multi-national collaboration to bolster resilience to climate impacts and reduce disaster risk in East Africa, potentially reaching 365 million people in eleven countries. Our main objective is to co-develop dedicated climate services for the water, energy and food security sectors with stakeholders and end-users, to enhance their ability to plan for and adapt to seasonal climate fluctuations. The scientific work in CONFER is ambitious and aims to break new ground along three inter-related tracks. First, we will secure end-user engagement by using the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Fora, which are held three times per year and attract about 200 stakeholders, as platforms for co-production of new and dedicated climate services for our focus sectors. By fostering a two-way dialogue between our scientists and a large group of stakeholders and end-users, we will create enthusiasm and raise awareness to ensure that the value of our new science and products is fully realized by those who need them the most. Second, we will improve on the accuracy and local detail of numerical prediction model outputs for East Africa, with a particular focus on seasonal prediction. Third, we will develop statistical and machine learning tools to obtain a new level of seasonal forecast skill based on numerical models and high- resolution satellite data. We will also involve our scientific experts in a large training and capacity development programme designed to enhance climate information uptake in our focus sectors. Our research and outreach address important IPCC topics, the sustainable development goals, and the expected impacts in the call for proposals. We will aim to influence policymaking through frequent interaction with stakeholders at the climate outlook fora, by publishing policy briefs, and by organizing an open conference on climate services in Africa.
Budget: about 16M NOK. Main funder: The Research Council of Norway. Project period: 2017-2021
We're qualified for phase 1 of the IKTPLUSS programme entitled "Ubiquitous data and services", and we got through to Phase 2 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.
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.