In order to achieve the aims and objectives of the EMBRACE project the work is broken into six Work Packages (WPs). Although each WP has defined goals and objectives there is a great degree of interaction between them all (see diagram below).
WP1 - Improving atmospheric moist convection and tropical climate
Current climate and Earth System Models (ESMs) do not adequately represent a number of key processes in the Tropics with unacceptably large biases observed. The WP1 team will focus on improving the parameterisation of atmospheric convection and its coupling with the large scale tropical climate system. Representing the tropical climate is a vital requirement for ESMs. The majority of solar energy received by the Earth is in the tropics and the potential for emission of absorbed energy back to space is also largest here. Furthermore, the majority of the Earth's precipitation falls in the tropics and is a direct result of atmospheric convection; it is therefore a key area for improving ESMs representation of the earth system.
WP2 - Ocean and cryosphere processes
This WP aims to improve the resolution of ocean models, as well as the representation of physical and biogeochemical processes, in key regions of the world’s oceans (particularly tropical coastal regions, the Southern Ocean and high Northern latitudes) to reduce well known biases in ESMs. These processes affect the transport of water, heat, salinity, nutrients and carbon in the ocean, impacting on the climate system by modifying it's ability to absorb human-emitted carbon dioxide and excess heat resulting from increased carbon dioxide concentrations. Such key ocean regions must be represented as accurately as possible for reliable projections of future climate change.
WP3 - Land and vegetation processes
In WP3 work is focused on land processes that are critical to reducing the current physical and biogeochemical biases in ESMs at both regional and global scales. One part of the team focuses on improving the representation of biophysical land processes and the other on biogeochemical processes. It is vitally important such processes are accurately represented in ESMs; for example to provide more reliable estimates of future drought and heatwave risk, which impact greatly on society and particularly affect the sustainability goals of many developing countries.
WP4 - Evaluation of combined improvements in coupled Earth System Models
WP4 will develop an evaluation package to assess the quality of the ESMs utilized within the project, and their corresponding ability to provide reliable projections by looking at three factors:
This package will then support the calculation of performance metrics to allow ESMs to be assessed and compared. WP4 will work closely with all the other WPs and also in collaboration with other international groups in the USA and beyond to create a tool suitable for application to any ESM.
WP5 - Abrupt and irreversible changes
The WP5 team aim to identify and assess processes that may result in abrupt or irreversible climatic changes, using a range of carefully designed ESM experiments. This analysis encompasses the risk for rapid changes in the Atlantic Ocean circulation or the stability of tropical and boreal forests once a ‘tipping point ’ is approached. Additionally they will estimate the likelihood of these changes occurring given different forcing scenarios and how sensitive estimates of these changes are to the way each model is formulated.
WP6 - Project management & Dissemination
This WP is devoted to ensuring the project is managed and coordinated to the highest level and remains within budget. The WP6 team is also responsible for communicating and disseminating the aims, results, and advances made within the project to the three target audiences; the general public, policy makers and the scientific community.