Wetenschap - 10 november 2016

Idea for new centre for climate research

Albert Sikkema

Bert Holtslag, professor of Meteorology and air quality, wants to set up the Ruisdael Observatory for precise climate change, together with researchers from Delft and Utrecht, and from the Dutch meteorological institute KNMI, science funding body TNO and energy research centre ECN. This is one of several plans for large research facilities nominated by the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW).

<photo: new weather radar TU Delft>

The idea of the Ruisdael Observatory is intended as a resource to enable the government to respond appropriately to climate change. To do that, weather forecasting needs to be improved, write the initiators. In particular, there is a need for better forecasting of the local and regional effects of extreme weather. The observatory would produce 3D weather reports which are accurate to one kilometre.

The Ruisdael observatory is one of 13 planned research facilities which were selected by the KNAW. The academy invited scientists to come up with ‘dream projects’ which – if they got funding – would benefit the science of the future. Along with the climate observatory, the KNAW also selected plans for a multifunctional research platform for ocean research and a facility for measuring gravitational waves. All the projects make use of big data and could potentially lead to scientific breakthroughs, says the Academy. The facilities should be realized by 2025, says the KNAW. It does not have the necessary funds, however.