The long-term goal of REKLIM is to develop fully coupled Earth system models at the regional scale, including the interactions between atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, biosphere, land surface and soils. These Earth system models together with suitable observational strategies and data analysis techniques will allow describing and assessing past, current and future regional climate change.

To the extent possible, causes – ranging from natural, regional drivers to anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases – will be attributed to these changes. A specific goal of the program is to disentangle the effect of different drivers – global, regional and local – natural and man-made – on climate variability and climate impacts. Consistent with the overall strategy of the Helmholtz Association, REKLIM serves a dual purpose of advancing cutting-edge scientific understanding and of providing a sound knowledge basis for socio-economic and political decision processes.

The overarching goals reflect the national and international research plans established within e.g. WCRP, IGBP, GEOSS, GMES and SCAR, and address global and regional climate change problems in general.

Specific objectives of REKLIM are to understand and quantify the change of atmospheric constituents, ice and ocean variability and sea level change, processes at high latitudes, the effects of land surface change and feedbacks, extreme events, their impacts on regional climate, and thus to develop knowledge for mitigation and adaptation strategies.

In summary, REKLIM will

  • Acquire improved process understanding through regional observations and modelling.
  • Develop improved coupled regional climate models by adopting existing models to enhanced computational power (resolution) and by including more climate-relevant components of the regional Earth system.
  • Generate data sets of recent, ongoing and possible future regional climate change in a number of key areas.
  • Analyse ongoing climate change with respect to causes, regional and local impact, global significance and perspectives.
  • Provide new information for advanced parameterisations in global coupled models and for mitigation and adaptation strategies for IPCC.

This new knowledge will represent a scientific basis for decision making for all levels of society. The outreach will be organized through the Climate Offices of the Helmholtz Association and the Climate Service Centre.