Erik Wilhelm Kolstad
Uni Research Climate
Regional Climate & Climate Services (Senior Researcher)
Climate Dynamics (Senior Researcher)
- Office phone:
- (+47) 55582432
- Visiting address:
- Office: 1130
- Web site:
- Profile in Norwegian research database
About this person
I took my PhD in meteorology at the Geophysical institute at the University of Bergen in 2007, focusing mainly on polar lows and marine cold air outbreaks. After that I was lucky enough to be part of a substantial Norwegian IPY research project entitled IPY-THORPEX, led by the late Jón Egill Kristjánsson. From 2011 to 2014, I worked for the commercial weather company StormGeo in Bergen, before I came back “home” to Uni Research Climate and the Bjerknes Centre for climate research. Apart from polar meteorology, one of my main research interests is seasonal forecasting. This started somewhat by coincidence, when I met Adam Scaife and we started discussing whether stratospheric sudden warmings (SSWs) could potentially influence cold air outbreaks over the Northeast Atlantic, which would then mean that they influenced the probability of polar lows. We wrote a paper about that in QJRMS in 2010. In the recently started European Commission project Blue Action, I will pick this idea back up and study the predictability of cold air outbreaks (and indirectly of polar lows) on the seasonal time scale. In 2015, I also published the first paper in a series on month-to-month persistence and its physical pathways. Persistence is perhaps the most readily available source of predictability in the climate system, and is therefore a key predictor in empirical forecast models.
I'm currently leading an initiative to establish a new research centre for seasonal forecasting at Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre. Please get in touch if this sounds interesting, whether you're a researcher or a potential user.
I have long experience in leadership, co-production and outreach. In 2010, I was recruited as the head of the research groups for regional climate modelling and climate services at Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre. When at StormGeo, I had the responsibility for all operational forecasts and hindcasts. Currently, I co-lead the same research group at Uni Research Climate, where one of my main tasks is the nurture and establish new collaborations with researchers at other institutions, including from other disciplines. In this capacity, I will lead one of three focus areas (the one for transformation outcomes) in the newly established Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation at the University of Bergen. Inter-disciplinary research and climate service is my other main research interest. I lead the Research Council of Norway (RCN) funded HordaKlim project. This is a collaboration with Hordaland county, and the aim is to make future climate projections usable and relevant for users in municipalities and businesses in western Norway. User engagement, two-way communication and co-production are key words that describe this work. I’m also a work package leader in two other climate service projects, and I currently supervise one PhD student. In terms of outreach, I have written or contributed to four popular science books, and I frequently write opinion articles in Norwegian newspapers. I am also often interviewed for newspaper articles, or for radio and TV, and I have several active web pages and blogs about weather and climate.