Workshop on physics–dynamics coupling to take place in July 2018

2 October 2017

Registration is now open for a workshop on physics–dynamics coupling (PDC18) to take place at ECMWF from 10 to 12 July 2018.

The workshop will address challenges in coupling the growing number of Earth system processes represented in weather and climate models.

Dynamics and physics

Weather and climate models include representations of complex processes that span timescales from seconds to centuries.

In practice the geophysical fluids that make up weather and climate can be modelled only by splitting the full complexity of the system into individual processes, which can be represented separately by sub-models.

The ‘dynamics’ refers to atmospheric processes at a scale resolved by the model. They are described by partial differential equations called the ‘primitive equations’. A lot of work goes into refining the numerical methods used to solve these equations.

But modelling just the resolved scales is not sufficient for successful weather and climate simulations.

There is another set of smaller-scale (sub-grid scale) processes in the atmosphere known as the ‘model physics’. They include radiation, clouds and turbulent motions. These processes are modelled separately by physical parametrizations.


All processes and also their interactions contribute to the full model. A consistent, accurate and efficient coupling between the processes is essential in order to ensure the correct representation of all the feedback controlling the evolution of geophysical fluids.

“The coupling is complex,” says ECMWF scientist Sylvie Malardel, one of the workshop organisers. “Speakers at the event will talk about challenges in representing fundamental interactions in weather and climate systems consistently, accurately and efficiently.”

The inclusion of Earth system components such as the ocean and sea ice in weather and climate models adds to the complexity.

“The workshop aims to bring together the growing community of scientists who have an interest in discussing and improving process coupling in geophysical modelling,” says Dr Malardel.

For more details on the event and on how to register, please visit the Physics Dynamics Coupling (PDC18) workshop page.