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Brussels, 19 March 1999

Climate Prediction: Outcome of the first EU-Japan workshop on Climate Change

Keywords: EU-Japan scientific cooperation, climate change

The EU can boast world-leading research groups in climate modelling and prediction research. In a few years time, however, their Japanese counterparts may be revolutionising climate research with the "Earth Simulator", a super-super computer that will outperform current computers a thousand times. With this background, the first EU-Japan workshop and symposium on climate change was held in Hakone and Tokyo, Japan, 2-5 March 1999 for the world leaders in climate change research to benefit from each others' experience and to increase cooperation. Key recommendations were identified, amongst which is the need to increase climate-computing capacity in Europe.

The symposium was held in Tokyo at the Tokyo International Forum on March 5th. It was opened by Mr. Uchida, Director General of NASDA (National Space Development Agency, Japan) and by A. Ghazi, Head of Biodiversity and Global Change Unit DG XII, European Commission. The discussions at the Hakone workshop underlined the existence of areas where the expertise in climate change research in the EU and Japan is complementary. Enhanced collaboration would therefore be of mutual benefit. The more specific recommendations presented at the symposium were:

In the Fifth Framework Programme for research and technological development, climate research is part of the thematic programme "Energy, Environment and Sustainable development".

For further information, please contact:

Ib Troen
Scientific officer, DG XII
Fax: + 32 2 296 30 24

Piia Huusela
Press Officer, DG XII
Fax: + 32 2 295 82 20

Background information

The Earth Simulator initiative is an ambitious project addressing seriously the increasing need for supercomputing power for climate research. In Europe we have no matching project and European researchers may see themselves marginalised some years from now if nothing is done. The need has also earlier been identified by the EC funded EuroCLIVAR concerted action. In the recommendations from EuroCLIVAR is stated:

A European Climate Computing Facility should be established. This facility could be hosted by an existing national or European centre or by a network of such centres. The facility should provide computing resources and access, and allow for climate modelling and research not possible at existing centres.

The EC Fifth Framework Programme offers support to research infrastructures and EU teams will certainly submit proposals for climate computing facilities. It is clear, however, that the European Climate Research centres also urgently need to consider higher levels of cooperation and to explore all avenues to meet the Earth Simulator challenge.

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