This is a pre-announcement for the “TEAMxUK: Quantifying atmospheric processes in mountainous regions” funding opportunity.
The funding opportunity aims to improve the understanding and model representations of orographic processes across scales to:
- improve weather and climate prediction
- enhance the UK’s management of vulnerability, risk, and resilience to associated environmental hazards and change
This investment will combine new observational data and process modelling of the atmosphere with theoretical developments to improve model representations of orographic processes, and their influence, across scales.
It will focus on an end output of developing and improving Momentum, the new Unified Earth Environment Prediction Framework and replacement to the Unified Model, currently being developed by the Met Office and partners under the Next Generation Modelling Systems (NGMS) programme.
A separate component of this investment will collect observational data, both airborne and ground-based, during summer 2025 and winter 2025-26. Projects will focus on using data from the observational campaign but may also use TEAMx data from elsewhere if relevant. Projects should not include an observational element in their plans, and it is not possible for projects to be built around their own observational component. However, you are encouraged to partake in discussions around the design of the observational campaign and you may propose to take part in the field.
More details on the observational component will be available on a dedicated website when the full funding opportunity is launched. This component will be led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS).
Projects should focus on at least one of the three science themes.
Theme A: mountain boundary layer processes
Boundary-layer flows are particularly sensitive to orographic variations. There is a need to improve modelling of the processes whereby orographic variations (at resolved and sub-grid scales) translate into inhomogeneity of the mean flow and of turbulence in the boundary layer. This theme looks to understand and represent these processes across the full range of boundary layer regimes, model grid spacings and dynamics. Attention will need to be paid to the representation of surface boundary conditions and exchange processes, in a scale aware and stochastic way.
Theme B: mountain waves, flow dynamics and scale interactions
The partitioning between orographic drag processes in current models is poorly constrained, resulting in misrepresentation of processes, particularly in very stable conditions. This theme addresses the need to formulate clearer distinctions between low-level orographic drag processes, their coupling to vertically propagating waves in a scale-sensitive way, and then to understand and accurately represent the remote impacts on the large-scale circulation of the drag in models. The focus will be on improving predictions of flow dynamics across the full range of synoptic regimes, while capturing the stochastic nature of these flows.
Theme C: moist orographic convection
The current parameterisations of moist convection in models do not consider explicitly the key role of orography in focusing and organisation, which can lead to errors in the evolution and timing of precipitation production. To improve predictions of convective dynamics and precipitation coverage and amount, this theme intends to develop the model representation of convection to account for orographic controls and stochasticity across scales and across the full range of synoptic regimes. As in Theme B, it also aims to improve the representation of upscale effects of the moist convection, in order to improve the large-scale circulation in climate models.
In all themes, the proposed project work must include an element that is focused on the translation of scientific understanding into practical formulations that could be implemented in weather and climate models and specifically the Momentum Unified Earth Prediction Framework (for example, findings that are quantitative and testable).
The investment will have three cross-cutting activities, and projects should clearly demonstrate how they contribute to at least one of these. The activities are:
- theory and model development: advancing the underpinning theory, modelling frameworks and numerics required to improve models across scales
- use of observations or process modelling: providing evidence to inform or direct parameterisation developments
- evaluation: to test and refine new developments in models, comparing with observations, and including ensemble performance
We will look to ensure a balanced suite of complementary projects to cover the scope and activities of the programme.
The duration of this award is a maximum of 42 months.
Projects must start by October 2024.
The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £625,000.
We will fund 80% of the FEC (£500,000) with the following exception:
- justified equipment would be funded at 50%
- eligible costs for international project co-lead involvement would be funded at 100%
We anticipate funding four projects through this funding opportunity.
We will not fund the following:
Successful projects, alongside the observational component, will form the UK contribution to the international programme TEAMx (Multi-scale transport and exchange processes in the atmosphere over mountains – programme and experiment). Successful projects will be expected to work with other projects funded through this funding opportunity and with the observational component.
Overall programme integration and coordination will be delivered by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS).
An extra £200,000 funding will be available to fund programme integration. Further details of this will be given when the full funding opportunity is launched.