Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

EMBRACE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 282672
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: Sweden
Domain: Health

Improved Earth system models for climate change analysis

An EU-funded initiative has developed a number of improvements for Earth system models (ESMs) to provide more reliable projections of future climate.
Improved Earth system models for climate change analysis
To take effective policy action, decision-makers need reliable estimates of how the climate may change in the future. ESMs are the most reliable tools for estimating how the Earth’s climate will respond to future greenhouse gas emissions. These models require continuous testing and improvement to correct inaccuracies and incorporate new processes.

The EMBRACE (Earth system model bias reduction and assessing abrupt climate change) project brought together the leading ESM researchers in Europe with the goal of improving the ability of European ESMs to accurately represent key Earth system processes and thereby make reliable projections of future climate change.

The consortium comprised 19 European research institutes specialising in Earth system science and modelling, representing 5 European ESMs. Project partners improved individual components of the ESMs such as; monsoon dynamics, atmospheric convection and gravity waves, terrestrial and marine carbon cycle processes and the representation of cloud-aerosol interactions.

Researchers developed a set of diagnostic and performance measures for a community ESM evaluation tool (ESMvalTool) to determine the overall quality of the project’s ESM simulations. The project used these ESMs to assess the risk of abrupt, potentially irreversible, changes in key components of the Earth system in response to future greenhouse gas, aerosol and land-use scenarios.

In addition, the project constructed a set of experiment protocols to investigate the risk of future abrupt changes in a number of key climate phenomena. It also developed a set of automated tools to scan large multi-model data sets for the existence of such abrupt changes.

Once abrupt changes were identified the underpinning cause of these changes were analysed in each model, with a view to establishing the robustness of the changes across models and the likelihood of the changes actually occurring based on understanding of the simulated processes.

By improving the realism of European ESMs EMBRACE has provided policy and decision makers with a more reliable picture of the future risks and opportunities associated with global change. This will support decision-making in areas such as climate change mitigation and impact-adaptation planning.

Related information

Keywords

Earth system models, EMBRACE, climate change, ESMvalTool, impact-adaptation planning
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