Coordinated Research in Earth Systems and Climate: Experiments, kNowledge, Dissemination and Outreach: CRESCENDO
The CRESCENDO project, led by Prof Colin Jones from the University of Leeds facilitates a coordinated European contribution to the 6th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) where the climate research community compares a range of International Earth system models using common sets of experimental protocols, to improve our knowledge of the Earth’s climate processes and provide the best possible future projections to governments and decision-makers.
Earth System Models (ESMs) are mathematical descriptions of the real world at the cutting edge of understanding how our planet works and the links between the main components of the oceans, vegetation, ice and desert, gases in the atmosphere, and the carbon cycle, as well as numerous other components. ESMs are developed based on traditional climate models, extending these typically physical models, to also include chemical and biological processes of importance in the climate system. ESMs are increasingly the primary tools used for estimating the full Earth system response to future emissions of greenhouse gases. Hence it is crucial these models are continually improved in order that more reliable future climate projections can be made.
CRESCENDO in particular better informs a number of key Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) where biogeochemical and aerosol components are of critical importance to delivering realistic future projections. Such components include: the terrestrial and marine carbon cycle, vegetation processes, permafrost, atmospheric chemistry and aerosols.
CRESCENDO brings together 7 European Earth System Modelling (ESM) teams and 3 European Integrated Assessment Modelling (IAM) groups, with experts in ESM performance evaluation, ESM future projection analysis, climate impacts, regional downscaling and science communication, representing 10 EU countries.
CRESCENDO addresses the following key objectives:
- To improve the representation of key biogeochemical and aerosol processes in European Earth System Models (ESM).
- To develop an ESM evaluation tool for benchmarking and advanced analysis of ESM simulations.
- To apply this evaluation tool to assess the realism of the project improved ESMs.
- To diagnose and quantify key Earth system feedbacks and their role in future Earth system change.
- To develop and apply methods to constrain the probable range of these Earth system feedbacks and thereby reduce the spread in future Earth system projections.
- To coordinate a European contribution to key Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) within the 6th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6).
- To contribute to the development of a new set of future emission and land-use scenarios for use by ESMs within the CMIP6 scenarioMIP.
- To produce a coordinated ensemble of ESM projections, based on these new scenarios and ensure this data is made available to the international research community.
- To work with the climate impacts and regional downscaling communities to ensure ESM data produced in the project is fully used in these research areas.
- To ensure knowledge developed in the project is communicated to key stakeholder communities in an engaging and understandable form.
CRESCENDO is structured into 5 Research Themes (RTs) (outlined in Fig 2). RT1 emphasizes improvement of process descriptions in Earth system models, split into 3 themes; terrestrial biogeochemical processes, marine biogeochemical processes and atmospheric chemistry and aerosols. RT2 concentrates on the evaluation of these processes, as well as evaluation of improvements in the resulting fully coupled ESMs. RT4 is where new greenhouse gas emission scenarios are developed and subsequent ESM future projections made, while RT3 develops and applies methodologies to analyse future Earth system feedbacks with an aim to reduce the spread in future projections. RT5 is where model data and new scientific knowledge developed in the project will be communicated to the wider international research and policy communities. These external links, indicated in blue in the figure below, include: (i) model simulation data distributed through CMIP6, (ii) ESM data required to drive regional downscaling through the international CORDEX project, (iii) ESM data required for impact assessment and finally, (iv) scientific knowledge to support the next IPCC Assessment.
CRESCENDO if funded under the program SC5-01-2014: Advanced Earth-system models.