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Ocean atmosphere

This project includes an extensive team of participants, and is based around two complementary sub-projects focused on a) multi-model seasonal climate forecasts and b) the coupled ocean-atmosphere system. The two streams share the common application of dynamic modelling of the components of the climate system. The seasonal forecasting stream uses multiple models of the global and regional climate, and seeks to achieve advances in the value of seasonal forecasts for all stakeholders and government sectors vulnerable to variability of the climate system. The second stream focuses on activities addressing research questions of atmosphere-ocean coupling around southern Africa.


Contribution by Professor Bruce Hewitson

This sub-project explores the dynamics of the coupled climate system to better understand the evolving regional climate, the changing nature of climate variability and extreme events, and the sensitivity of the regional climate to land surface change. The aim is to generate improved computational research products to address the needs of:

  • regional climate change projections of Africa's climate in response to global warming,
  • improved seasonal forecasting through multi-model ensemble techniques,
  • enhanced climate model skills for the African climate through the development of model physics and parameterization schemes
  • a stronger national research capacity to undertake climate simulations for the purposes of supporting climate change research


Contribution by Professor Frank Shillington

The intention of this sub-project is to tackle the numerical modelling aspects of coupled Ocean and Atmosphere phenomena around southern Africa, and their impacts on the weather and climate. The research builds on established examples and addresses issues such as:
Regional Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Modelling / Environmental and Geographical Science

  • floods and storm damage associated with tropical cyclones, cut-off low and intense depressions;
  • large-scale fires associated with adverse weather conditions;
  • air pollution episodes;
  • rogue waves and storm surges in the ocean;
  • coastal ocean low oxygen and its risk to marine resources;
  • harmful algal blooms (red tides);
  • Benguela NiƱos and other extreme events in the southern African environment; and the
  • reduction of uncertainties in long-term climate change forecasts.

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