Content - Workshop_on_Atmospheric_Blocking_Reading_April2016

Workshop on Atmospheric Blocking

6-8 April 2016
University of Reading, UK

Scientific Content


Atmospheric blocking is known to play a crucial role in modulating the variability of the
mid­-latitude circulation, particularly from sub­-seasonal to annual and inter-­annual time­scales. Blocking also heavily affects weather conditions at the surface, being associated with large-­scale cold spells during winter and persistent heatwave episodes and dry conditions during summer. Despite its key role in driving the weather at the mid­-latitudes, and the large efforts made so far to study its phenomenology, the mechanisms leading to its formation and persistence are still to be completely understood. The NWP models and GCMs have increasingly improved in simulating blocking, and yet there are some clear deficiencies in its representation, particularly over the Euro­-Atlantic sector. Furthermore, the complexity of blocking has led to the production of several diagnostic tools, which in principle are all useful as they characterise different aspects of this phenomenon. However, the variety of techniques has also led to some confusion, with different methodologies leading to substantially different blocking climatologies.


This workshop intends to address such issues, starting from the state­-of-­the­-art knowledge of atmospheric blocking. The impact of blocking on the daily weather is also considered paramount, for this reason this workshop will also be one contribution to the WCRP Grand Challenge on Extremes. T​he content will be developed around the following points:

  1. What is blocking, and how do the different indices in the literature describe its physical/dynamical aspects? How does blocking compare across different reanalyses? Are there any differences between Southern and Northern Hemisphere blocking events?
  2. Is there any trend in blocking (frequency, magnitude, persistence) during the last 30/50/70 years? Is there any sign of decadal and/or multi­-decadal variability?
    How are these changes reflected in extreme weather conditions?
  3. How well do NWP and climate models simulate blocking, and what is the blocking response to forcings and (regional) feedback processes? What are the future projections of blocking?

At the end of the workshop each of the above points will be addressed according to the following points:

  • To provide a more objective classification of blocking. A list of the main characteristics of blocking will be included as well as the diagnostics that best describe each of them.
  • To reconcile, where possible, the different results on blocking trends and its low­-frequency variability over the last 70 years.
  • To evaluate the current state of knowledge about the link between extreme weather conditions and blocking.
  • To isolate the main mechanisms responsible for blocking biases in the models, and possible routes to resolve them. To identify the response to different forcings and summarise the main results regarding future projections of blocking.




Logistics and Details

  • To be held at the University of Reading, 6-­8 April 2016.
  • A limit of 100 delegates.
  • Formal dinner to be confirmed.

Important dates

Abstract submission deadline: 10 December 2015
Travel support application deadline: 10 December 2015
Registration deadline: 10 February 2016


Please see the websites below for information on Reading, local hotels and Cedars on campus.

Please make your own arrangements for accommodation.


Invited Speakers

Day 1: M​ischa Croci­-Maspoli​, Brian Hoskins (Diagnostics)
Day 2: Etienne Dunn-Sigouin (Trends), Ricardo Trigo (Extreme Weather)
Day 3: P​aolo Davini​ (Models), Mark Rodwell

Download pdf file of programme.

Download pdf file of abstracts.

Scientific Committee

G. Masato, O. Martius, T. Woollings, T. Ambrizzi, E. Barnes, D. Barriopedro, B. Harvey, A. Lupo, J. Methven, S.­-W. Son, S. Pfahl, J. Sillmann, S. Seneviratne


Registration is now closed as the maximum number of participants has been reached. All participants must be registered.

Abstract submission

For abstract submission please complete the template provided below and email your abstract in PDF format to:

Template (Word)
Template (pdf)

Travel support

Some support for travel to this workshop is available through the generosity of SPARC, WCRP, WWRP and NCAS.

Applications for travel support should include 

  1. a submitted abstract
  2. 1-page statement indicating the relevance of the workshop to your research and career goals
  3. a letter of support from your advisor (PhD or post-doc) or institution that specifically mentions how much funding they can provide to cover your travel expenses to the workshop.

Please combine the application materials into a single pdf and email them to