The Bjerknes Centre is a collaboration on climate research, between the University of Bergen, NORCE, the Institute of Marine Research, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre.

Our History

The Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research engages more than 200 scientists from 39 countries, and is one of the largest climate research units in Europe.


The Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR) combines observations with theoretical and modeling studies of past, present and future climates. The affiliated researchers have leading expertise within climate understanding, climate modeling and scenarios for climate changes and quantification of climate changes. 

Medhaug Grønland
By the Equip-glacier, Greenland. Photo: Iselin Medhaug

BCCR focuses mainly on northern Europe and the polar regions, and is a key provider of first-rate knowledge on climate change to policy makers, industry, and the general public. The overall aim of the Bjerknes Centre is to understand and quantify the climate system for the benefit of society. 

The research is organised into seven research groups, each with specific goals, objectives and implementation plans.

Nordic Centre of Excellence

The Bjerknes Centre was founded in 2000, and labeled a National Centre of Excellence (CoE) from 2003 - 2012. The funding and acknowledgement from the Norwegian Research Council made it possible for various research groups and disciplines in Bergen to work together. This multidisciplinary collaboration has enhanced the level of climate research on a national scale, and continues to do so today.

After five years as a CoE the centre went through a midway evaluation by an international committee, on behalf of the Research Council of Norway. The overall grading of achievements from the committee was “exceptionally good”:

“BCCR has produced outstanding research results and is on the forefront of development in their field. The evaluation remarks that the centre is on the way to become one of the leading centers worldwide and has an excellent reputation at the national and international levels. The cooperation among various disciplines is considered as exemplary” - CoE evaluation.

Today, the activities of the Bjerkens Centre are partially funded by a grant to the Centre for Climate Dynamics (SKD) from the Ministry of Education and Research for the period 2010-2021.

Involvement with IPCC

Due to our leading position on climate research, we have a central role in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (2007), including coordinating lead author, lead author, and several contributing authors.

We are the only research centre from the Nordic countries that has provided climate scenarios to the report, entailing different simulations on climate developments between 1850 and 2100. The IPCC-activity has also contributed to an increased visibility of BCCR and a stronger emphasis on media and outreach activities. 

Visionary Scientists

The Centre is named in honour of the visionary scientists Vilhelm and Jacob Bjerknes.

Vilhelm Bjerknes (1862-1951) laid the foundations of modern meteorology and weather forecasting through the "Bergen School of Meteorology" at the Geophysical Institute in Bergen. His Son Jacob (1897-1975) carried out pioneer research on climate change and the role of the ocean in the climate system. Read more about Vilhelm Bjerknes' career here.

The spiral in our logo is taken from Bjerknes' original drawings of the circulation around a low pressure system.