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Tales of future weather

An Erratum to this article was published on 25 February 2015

This article has been updated


Society is vulnerable to extreme weather events and, by extension, to human impacts on future events. As climate changes weather patterns will change. The search is on for more effective methodologies to aid decision-makers both in mitigation to avoid climate change and in adaptation to changes. The traditional approach uses ensembles of climate model simulations, statistical bias correction, downscaling to the spatial and temporal scales relevant to decision-makers, and then translation into quantities of interest. The veracity of this approach cannot be tested, and it faces in-principle challenges. Alternatively, numerical weather prediction models in a hypothetical climate setting can provide tailored narratives for high-resolution simulations of high-impact weather in a future climate. This 'tales of future weather' approach will aid in the interpretation of lower-resolution simulations. Arguably, it potentially provides complementary, more realistic and more physically consistent pictures of what future weather might look like.

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Change history

  • 28 January 2015

    In the print version of this Perspective, the last sentence in Box 1 was cut off, and should have read "The model information of this specific case added with 'what-if' scenarios of sea-level rise and on changes in extreme rainfall have been provided to water managers and now aid in designing adaptation measures in a realistic setting." This error has been corrected in the online versions.


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We thank Jan Gooijer of regional water authority Noorderzijlvest for providing the observations shown in Figure B1 and his feedback on the use of Tales in practice. W.H., G.J.v.O., and B.vd.H. were co-sponsored by Knowledge for Climate Theme 6 project E.M, and E. V. were co-sponsored NWO/KvK project Bridging the Gap between stakeholders and climate scientists (NWO 830.10.008). L.A.S. and D.A.S. acknowledge the support of LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE's Centre for Climate Change and Economics and Policy funded by the ESRC and Munich Re, and UK EPSRC grant EP/K013661/1. L.A.S. is grateful for the continuing support of the Master and Fellows of Pembroke College, Oxford.

Author information




W.H., D.S., A.P., B. vd. H.,G.J. v O., and L.S. developed the main idea of Tales, W.H. wrote the majority of the first draft; A.P., W.H., E.M., and E.V. provided insights on interactions between climate scientists and users reflected in the text; G.J.v.O. provided input on the forecast quality section; B.vd.H. provided insights on local vulnerability reflected in the article and the box; L.S. and D.S. provided insights on the impacts and identification of model inadequacies in climate simulation models. All authors contributed at different stages to drafts of the article with a major final edit by D.S. and L.S.

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Correspondence to W. Hazeleger.

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Hazeleger, W., van den Hurk, B., Min, E. et al. Tales of future weather. Nature Clim Change 5, 107–113 (2015).

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