Use of WATCH Forcing Data by persons external to the WATCH project

In June 2011, the following request was granted to:

  • Steve Hancock (Durham University)

Durham University is part of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation and aims to investigate the behaviour of snow in the JULES model and test changes.

Data to be used
We would like to use WATCH to run JULES. We will compare the results against ESA's Globsnow snow water equivalent and snow cover, river gauge data, EO soil moisture and AVHRR NDVI where available. We will be paying particular attention to snow melt and the fate of the resulting water (runoff, uptake by vegetation, evaporation). This will build on earlier benchmarking studies. Currently we are using the Princeton dataset to drive JULES, but there seem to be a number of issues in the precipitation, particularly at lower latitudes and higher elevations. The WATCH dataset would make us less reliant on the accuracy of just one dataset (though they are not fully independent).


In March 2011, the following request was granted to:

  • Dr. Ad De Roo (Action Leader Floods: European Commission - Joint Research Centre)

Specific use of the data
The European Commission - Joint Research Centre aims to use the WATCH Forcing Data in the framework of testing the set up of their Global model in addition in a pan-African application. The main use of the data is flood forecasting and early warning purposes (as opposed to climate studies). In the future it is anticipated to be used for climate change assessments as well. For further details on the flood work of the JRC please visit: the floods portal.


In March 2011, the following request was granted to:

  • Dr. Richard Valentini (CMCC Director of Division IAFENT) and Dr. Antonio Bombelli  (Department of Forest Environment and Resources, University of Tuscia, Italy)

Specific use of the data
CLIMAFRICA, a new EU FP7 project, aims to generate decadal climate forecasts for Africa, to assess its impacts on ecosystem services, to develop an early warning system and to evaluate vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies. The project is preparing a modelling protocol for simulations of continental scale ecosystem models, which (for now) will run from 1901 until present (2010), and at a later stage into the future based on the decadal climate forecasts. ClimAfrica and WATCH have common project partners and communication between these 2 projects will be developed through the ecosystem model simulations.


In December 2010, the following request was granted to:

  • Dr Christian Beer and Markus Reichstein (Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Biogeochemical Model-Data)

Specific use of data
CARBO-Extreme proposes to perform ecosystem model runs up to 2100 using regional climate model results from ENSEMBLES. For this, it is necessary to acquire climate data during 1901-today which is most realistic, i.e. corrected by observation-based products for three reasons: (i) to initialize carbon pools using historical climate, (ii) to evaluate model results during recent times and (iii) to calibrate projected climate until 2100 by current observed climate.

Therefore, CARBO-Extreme will produce a homogeneous time series 1901-2100 with WATCH forcing data being the heart. The so produced climate data will be used to analyze the ecosystem's response to climate variability and extreme events. The project website is www.carbo-extreme.eu.


In November 2010, the following request was granted to:

  • Dr. Ton Manders Head of department Climate, Air and Energy at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

Specific use of the data
The Integrated Assessment Model IMAGE is used to calculate impacts of climate change and the interactions between land use, energy use and climate. Todate modelling has concentrated on changes in 'average climate parameters'. However, IMAGE is currently being coupled to a crop model, a water model and a dynamic vegetation model to explore the impact of climate variability, extremes and droughts on the human and natural system. The latter implies that we need ‘daily weather’ in terms of minimum and maximum temperature, precipitation and cloudcover.

To include 'daily weather' we developed a very simple Weather Scalor that adds climate variability (min and max temperature and precipitation) from any climate database to the monthly average 'weather' in IMAGE. We believe the WATCH-database better suits our needs.

Data to be used
We will use WATCH forcing data to force both models, additionally data from other sources we be used.


The following request was granted to:

  • Dr. Nikolaos Fyllas, Marie Curie IEF Fellow, School of Geography, University of Leeds
  • Dr. Lina Mercado, Vegetation Modeller, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Specific use of the data
WATCH forcing data will be used to force JULES and Nikolaos model (which does tree by tree dynamics and so on) to analyze spatial patterns of photosynthesis (GPP) and net primary productivity (NPP) specifically in the Amazon Basin. We will also examine what the spatial variability of the forcing data is and how this affects the simulated GPP and NPP. Models will be compared against each other.

Data to be used
We will use WATCH forcing data to force both models, additionally from other data sources we will use soil texture maps, foliar N, P, specific leaf area (SLA), LAI and atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Mercado and Fyllas have an ongoing collaboration on comparing their model and the WATCH forcing data could provide a valuable common “forcing basis” to continue this work.