What are the aims?

Despite the great advances made over the last few decades, Earth System Models (ESMs) remain very simplified representations of the real earth system. Indeed a number of vital processes of the climate system are missing altogether. This results in ESMs having a reduced ability to provide reliable projections of the future climate change.

EMBRACE aims to address these limitations with a particular focus on areas that are most uncertain or unrealistic in present-day projections. The key goals are:

  • To reduce the main, known biases in existing European ESMs;
  • To fully evaluate the ability of ESMs to simulate earth system processes, with particular attention paid to improvements made within the project;
  • To increase the realism of, and interactions between, the physical and biogeochemical components of ESMs; and
  • To assess the risks of abrupt or irreversible changes in key components of the earth system, in response to the most recent greenhouse gas, aerosol and land-use scenarios proposed for the IPCC AR5.

Four primary ESM biases specifically being targeted by the project are:

  1. The global carbon cycle;
  2. Atmospheric convection and coupled tropical circulation;
  3. Coastal and equatorial ocean upwelling; and
  4. Land surface-climate interactions.

The ESMs will also be used to investigate the risk of abrupt changes to potential tipping points in the climate system, such as the stability of the Atlantic Ocean circulation and the stability of tropical and boreal forest ecosystems to global warming.