Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 13 | 9. Februar 2021

Priority Programme “Polarimetric Radar Observations meet Atmospheric Modelling (PROM) – Fusion of Radar Polarimetry and Numerical Atmospheric Modelling Towards an Improved Understanding of Cloud and Precipitation Processes” (SPP 2115)

In April 2017, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Polarimetric Radar Observations meet Atmospheric Modelling (PROM) – Fusion of Radar Polarimetry and Numerical Atmospheric Modelling Towards an Improved Understanding of Cloud and Precipitation Processes” (SPP 2115). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.

Vision and Objectives

Cloud and precipitation processes are the main source of uncertainties in weather prediction and climate change projections since decades. A major part of these uncertainties can be attributed to missing observations suitable to challenge the representation of cloud and precipitation processes in atmospheric models. Since 2015 the whole atmosphere over Germany is monitored by 17 state-of-the-art polarimetric Doppler weather radars, which provide every five minutes 3D information on the liquid and frozen precipitating particles and their movements on a sub-kilometer resolution, which is also approached by the atmospheric models for weather prediction and climate studies. Data assimilation merges observations and models for state estimation as a requisite for prediction and can be considered as a smart interpolation between observations while exploiting the physical consistency of atmospheric models as mathematical constraints. However, considerable knowledge gaps exist both in radar polarimetry and atmospheric models, which impede the full exploitation of the triangle radar polarimetry – atmospheric models – data assimilation.

Thus, the Priority Programme builds upon the hypothesis that a coordinated effort in exploiting the synergy of polarimetric radar observations and atmospheric models will

  • overcome current obstacles, which hinder the fusion of polarimetric radar observations and atmospheric models via data assimilation on scales which govern precipitating weather systems,
  • provide a most effective research approach to cloud- and precipitation processes, that enables a thorough evaluation and improvement of parameterisations of moist processes in atmospheric models,
  • allow for new insights into the atmospheric energy budget and the cycling between its different forms in moist atmospheric processes, and
  • lead to innovations of our capabilities to predict convective cloud development and thunderstorms.

The programme invites proposals towards an improved scientific understanding of moist processes in the atmosphere at the verges of the three disciplines for better predictions of precipitating cloud systems by addressing the following objectives:

  • exploitation of radar polarimetry for quantitative process detection in precipitating clouds and for model evaluation
  • improvement of cloud and precipitation schemes in atmospheric models based on process fingerprints detectable in polarimetric observations
  • monitoring of the energy budget evolution due to phase changes in the cloudy, precipitating atmosphere for a better understanding of its dynamics
  • generation of precipitation system analyses by assimilation of polarimetric radar observations into atmospheric models for weather forecasting
  • radar-based detection of the initiation of convection for the improvement of thunderstorm prediction

Proposal Submission

Proposal must employ polarimetric radar measurements, preferably of the German C band network, as the central observational data base and the research goals have to address an improved understanding of cloud and precipitation processes by confronting numerical atmospheric models with these observations. All submissions will address science questions advancing at least one of the objectives and will be proposed by teams with expertise in at least two fields of the triangle to best leverage synergy. Its exploitation for profound improvements in the representation of clouds and precipitation processes in atmospheric modelling is an emerging research field, which demands the education of scientist still rarely available in Germany. This second period may provide a postdoc phase for the most successful projects of phase I. However, new projects are equally welcome, and proposals for PhD projects are given the same priority. The principal investigators of the programme plan the recruitment of suitable postdoc and PhD candidates based on a common call and selection colloquium.

Important: All submissions must clearly contribute to one of the Priority Programme’s objectives. Otherwise submissions would not be in the focus of this programme. Also research proposals on data assimilation studies without explicit use of polarimetric radar observations, cloud and precipitation climatologies without connection to model-derived statistics, or derivation of retrieval algorithms without targeting cloud and precipitation processes are not the focus of the programme.

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 14 May 2021. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 1 May 2021 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 2115” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. In addition to submitting your proposal via elan, please send an electronic copy to the programme coordinator.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • PD Dr. Silke Trömel
    Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
    Institut für Geowissenschaften
    Abteilung Meteorologie
    Auf dem Hügel 20
    53121 Bonn
    phone +49 228 735779

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:

Programme contact:

Administrative contact: