Earth System Model Applications
The development and the use, or the applications, of an Earth System model must proceed hand-in-hand, and in this theme we focus on how the ESM will be used to address problems of enormous societal import. The problems we propose to focus on involve decadal and centennial timescales, the interaction of natural and anthropogenically-forced variability, and the changes and impacts on the environment that affect society. The overall goal of this activity is to use the Earth system model, in whole or in part, to investigate problems associated with climate change and its impacts on timescales of a decade or longer.
The applications may be conveniently, if not fundamentally, divided into three general areas:
- Applications involving one or two individual components of, the ESM — for example, integrations of the ocean general circulation model to better understand the large-scale circulation, and how it might respond to global climate change, or integrations involving the ocean circulation and the biogeochemical tracers within it.
- Applications involving the physical components of climate system; coupled ocean-atmosphere-land-ice models. These are the traditional ‘climate models’, and will remain of singular importance over the lifetime of this CI.
- Applications involving the ESM as a whole. Typically, these involve the biological and biogeochemical components of the model, for these depend also on the physical aspects of the model and therefore require many model components.
In all of the above areas both idealized and realistic model integrations will be performed: the former to better understand the behavior of the models and the interactions between their components, and the latter to give the best quantitative estimates of the present and future behavior of the Earth system. As with the other themes, CICS seeks to complement GFDL activities by providing expertise in distinct areas, typically those that are concerned with the dynamics of subsystem (e.g., the ocean circulation and its biogeochemistry, the land) where CICS has particular expertise, or that are concerned with understanding the interactions between systems. Applications involving integrations of the comprehensive, state-of-the are ESM that are aimed at providing quantitative measures of the present and future state of the Earth system, for example for future IPCC assessments, will only be carried out as part of a close collaboration with GFDL.