computerruimte van het KNMI (Bron Tineke Dijkstra)

Weather & Climate Models

The department Research and Development of Weather and Climate models (RDWK) investigates and develops research tools for weather and air quality prediction applications and climate models. We work on detailed physical processes, data assimilation, long term climate projections and practical applications including storm surge forecasts and statistics of extremes. RDWK participates in a number of international projects directed towards a variety of weather and climate related research and development areas and acts as the Netherlands Focal Point to the IPCC.

RDWK is structured in 3 clusters: Mesoscale modelling develops tools for regional numerical weather prediction (NWP) and climate analyses; Large scale modelling focuses on global climate and atmospheric chemistry; Postprocessing and Analysis develops statistical analyses, applications and climate services.

RDWK consists of about 45 research professionals (including PhD and technical support staff). We have a strong international network, and most activities are executed in collaboration with partners in e.g. HIRLAM/Harmonie, EC-Earth, ECMWF and universities.

Contracts from Rijkswaterstaat, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, funding organisation NWO, the European Copernicus program and European research programs provide roughly half of the annual portfolio. The other half is basic funding for servicing the weather forecast centre, climate scenarios and strategic research.

Some recent and ongoing activities and projects: development of the NWP model system Harmonie, and its tailoring to the needs of the KNMI Early Warning Centre is embedded in the HIRLAM consortium work program, and focuses on data assimilation and ensemble prediction. The KNMI’14 climate change scenarios will be followed by a new generation of generic and specific scenarios in the timeframe 2018-2020, focusing on future weather applications, urban scenarios and sea level rise. Contributions to the international EC-Earth program focuses on the development of high resolution projections and the coupling of atmospheric chemistry in the Earth System Model configuration. Observations and climate models are used to attribute causes of past climate change and extreme weather events.  The KNMI Climate Explorer is a web-based climate data browser, used by many students, researchers and practicioners worldwide. Other research topics include air quality forecasting, extreme precipitation statistics, sea level rise, and evaluation of weather alerts.

Infographic KNMI weather and climate models


  • A photo of wind damage that caused a tree to fall over

    Estimating wind gusts during severe wind conditions

    Extreme windstorms are the most important natural hazards affecting Europe. Losses are not primarily caused by the sustained wind speed but by the gusts, i.e., the maxima of the wind speed during a few seconds.
  • group photo

    Statistical Post-Processing workshop - TU Delft 2019

    Researchers from KNMI, TU Delft, WUR, VU, and UU came together on Thursday 7 November at the Delft Institute of Applied Mathematics at TU Delft, hosted by Prof. dr. ir. Geurt Jongbloed, who also attended the workshop. They discussed the state of statistical post-processing research in The Netherlands. The researchers all work in close collaboration with KNMI to improve weather forecasts at a variety of scales. These collaborations between a government research organisation and universities that have different research focuses, from statistical to domain knowledge, are valuable as they allow the contribution from different perspectives to a common research question.
  • A map of the stations

    Validation of Stratification-Driven Phytoplankton Biomass and Nutrient Concentrations in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean as Simulated by EC-Earth

    The physical and biochemistry model EC-Earth-NEMO-PISCES is validated against physical and biological observations in the North-Atlantic (the Stratiphyt transect, running from the Azores to Iceland). While in the southern part of this transect the agreement is very good, the northern section clearly shows a mismatch in phytoplankton spring bloom that could be related to biases in simulated mixed layer depths and salinities. A second simulation with more accurate vertical ocean mixing showed improved springtime mixed layer depths, phytoplankton dynamics and nutrient distributions in the subpolar North Atlantic. This highlights the sensitivity of phytoplankton behaviour to increased future meltwater input into the North Atlantic resulting from e.g. melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. This paper also demonstrates the intricate links between physics and biology, and the need to validate the coupled system in Earth System Models.
Show all news



    Cloud Representation, IMprovement and Evaluation in the HARMONIE model

    An improved turbulence scheme for Harmonie-Arome
  • CAMS_42

    Development of Global Reactive Gases Aspects for the Copernicus Atmospere Monitoring Service
Show all projects


Show all publications