CRYOMET - Bridging models for the terrestrial cryosphere and the atmosphere

About the project

This interdisciplinary project seeks to bridge the scale gap between coarsely-resolved Earth System Models (ESM) providing climate projections for the 21st century and finely-resolved land surface models, which are used to evaluate glacier mass balance, snow distribution and the ground thermal regime (permafrost).

CRYOMET will address the development of dynamic up- and downscaling procedures for surface processes, with a particular focus on the effects of snow on the surface energy balance. Such procedures are required to provide sound predictions for the response of the terrestrial cryosphere to future climate change.


The objectives of the CRYOMET project are to:

  • validate the PolarWRF land surface scheme using energy flux measurements
  • provide downscaled data sets of cryosphere variables with Polar WRF
  • use snow distribution models to facilitate further probabilistic downscaling of the snow cover
  • assess the use of probability density functions for snow in permafrost and glacier mass balance models
  • improve the understanding of  the cryosphere feedback on the atmosphere by testing upscaling schemes for the surface energy balance in Polar WRF


CRYOMET is a basic research project. Direct deliverables from the project will be in the form of scientific dissemination, which will be done through the two PhD theses or Postdoc. work, and publications in peer-reviewed journals. In addition the project results will be presented during national and international conferences.

From the project we will provide the basis for possible spin-off products. First, the evaluation and validation with different land surface schemes in our field sites will give the data bases to understand climate feed-back mechanisms and ultimately improve weather forecasts and climate projections at high latitudes.

Secondly, the work will form the basis for a future high-resolution gridded data set for Svalbard, covering climate parameters such as air temperature, precipitation and snow cover. Such data sets are available for Norway based on interpolation between met-stations (, and are highly valuable for coupling climate conditions with other processes, e.g. spatially refined model representations of both the thermal regime of permafrost and glacier mass balance for several areas on Svalbard. Finally, the project will form the basis for improved projections of climate impact on the cryosphere in Arctic and high latitude mountain environments.


The project is in cooperation between Section for Physical Geography and Hydrology (GEOHYD) and the Section for Meteorology and Oceanography (METOS), both at Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo.

The GEOHYD section has longterm experience in investigating the climate impact on the terrestrial cryosphere (snow, glaciers, permafrost) and is involved in various high-level research projects and centers.

The MetOs section carries out research on various physical, dynamical and chemical aspects of the climate system, often in the context of climate change. Important tools in this research are e.g. earth system models, regional atmospheric models and advanced satellite data.

Project period for CRYOMET is from 1.1.2012 to 31.12.2015.


The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway.



WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting Model)


Tags: Cryopshere, ESM, Permafrost, Glacier, Glacier mass balance, Ground temperatures, Snow
Published June 8, 2012 1:30 PM - Last modified Oct. 13, 2016 10:12 PM