A team of scientists led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science have completed building the UK’s first Earth system model. 

An Earth system model is a complex computer simulation of the earth, including its atmosphere, land, ice and oceans. Traditionally, computer models have focused on single aspects of the global climate, but new models are able to integrate multiple environmental factors.

By providing a representation of the planet that draws on all environmental science disciplines, the Earth system model developed by the UKESM project will transform the UK’s capacity for predicting future climate change.

The model, called UKESM1, will help researchers to make better forecasts of environmental change, such as the impacts of atmospheric gases and aerosols on climate change. These long-term climate projections will inform government policies worldwide through initiatives such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

UK researchers have already started using the model to run simulations of the past climate. The results are being shared via a worldwide network, where scientists from different countries can compare and analyse the outcomes of their global climate models.

This new UKESM1 model was jointly developed by 8 Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) research centres, including NCAS, and the Met Office Hadley Centre. It has been released for use by UK researchers, and consists of a physical climate model plus components that represent key biogeochemical, chemistry, aerosol and vegetation processes.

Read more about UKESM project and find out how to access and configure UKESM1.