German Research Foundation continues funding for research into the limits of weather forecast

DFG approves second funding period for Transregional Collaborative Research Center "Waves to Weather" (CRC/TRR 165)

28 May 2019

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the extension of funding of the Transregional Collaborative Research Center "Waves to Weather" starting in July 2019. During this second funding period, the CRC/TRR 165 will be receiving some EUR 10 million. The consortium aims to understand and determine the limits of predictability of weather, which is challenging due to the chaotic nature of the atmosphere. "Scientific developments will help us understand the shortcomings of current weather forecast models. Using new concepts and methodologies we will pave the way towards better forecasts up to the limits of predictability," said Professor Volkmar Wirth of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). "We are addressing the challenge through this joint project, which is unique in Germany." The maximum funding period of the research project is 12 years. In addition to JGU, the consortium involves Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München acting as the coordinating university, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Technical University of Munich, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Heidelberg University, and Universität Hamburg.

At present, meteorologists can deliver reliable forecasts for a maximum range of seven to ten days. The costs saved as a result are in the billions every year, but most importantly forecasts help save the lives of numerous people. And yet there are sometimes very poor forecasts. The underlying reasons can be traced back to uncertain meteorological data and shortcomings of prediction methods. "We intend to combine our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and cloud physics, statistics, numerical modeling, and visualization techniques in order to pave the way towards better weather forecast models," emphasized Wirth.