body of water beside beach sand

Newsletter 17 – June 2023


UKESM develops, applies and analyses UK Earth system models to deliver projections of future change

TerraFIRMA – Future impacts, risks and mitigation actions in a changing Earth system


Global-scale evaluation of a coastal ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) scheme in UKESM1

Reaching net zero is going to take drastic action. Earth system models are being used to research potential carbon dioxide removal (CDR) schemes that could be employed on a large scale. UKESM was used to examine ocean alkalinity enhancement and help answer questions such as “will it work?” and “what are the potential side effects”. Our article looks at the initial results. Read more

Regional Aerosol Model Intercomparison Project (RAMIP)

Aerosols play an important role in regional and global climate change, through their cooling effect and in driving trends in precipitation, for example over Asia and Africa. TerraFIRMA assesses the role of aerosols in future climate change. The international RAMIP is developing a set of experiments to provide a more detailed understanding of the climate response to regional aerosol changes. Read more

The Marine Biogeochemical Evaluation Toolkit, bgcval2

The marine biogeochemistry validation toolkit, bgcval, plays a key part in monitoring the marine component of the United Kingdom Earth System model (UKESM). The software suite is used to compare the marine components of simulations against each other and against observational data. Find out about our latest upgrades and improvements in bgcval2. Read more


TerraFIRMA General Assembly, NOC Southampton, May 2023

Just over a year into the TerraFIRMA project, we had our second project gathering hosted by NOC at Southampton in May 2023. Around 50 attendees in person and another 30 participants online made for some great discussions and exchanges.

The meeting included a mix of progress updates, science talks, breakout discussions and an update on the WCRP Lighthouse activities by Gabi Hegerl, University of Edinburgh. TerraFIRMA has 26 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) associated with the project. Nine of the ECRs gave excellent science talks during the 2 day meeting, their talks can be viewed here.

Progress in delivering TerraFIRMA science was captured and displayed via 20 posters at the venue and online including the following science areas, aerosols, UKESM2 development, ice sheets, fire attribution, methane cycle, North Atlantic bloom, ocean alkalinity enhancement, JULES, hydrological modelling. Posters can be viewed here.

TerraFIRMA group photo at NOC

Follow TerraFIRMA on

ESM2025 General Assembly in Grenoble – May/June 2023

Project participants from 20 partners across 7 countries descended on Grenoble for the 3rd General Assembly of the ESM2025 project. In a game of lottery with train delays and strikes, a contingent of 9 people from the UKESM team and the Met Office made it to the meeting (and mostly back again!).

The packed programme included keynotes from Helene Hewitt (Met Office) on planning CMIP7, and ‘The many facets of snow’ by Marie Dumont (Météo France, CEN); a series of science talks; breakout groups to discuss plans for progressing some of the work packages; project updates; Early Career Researcher career session and the World Café with local stakeholders in Grenoble.

A brief overview of our 2nd General Assembly – through the eyes of a Political Science student – ESM2025

ESM2025 meeting at the University of Grenoble

World Café – making our research relevant

How do we make sure that our research is relevant to different stakeholders? The gathering of project members in Grenoble at the end of May for the ESM2025 General Assembly presented the perfect opportunity to engage with local stakeholders through our World Café event. This annual event enables us to understand different climate science needs and discuss new findings from the project and how these may be able to help support decision making at different levels in society.

This year we were delighted to welcome local representatives from Atmo Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, MeteoSwiss, Grenoble Alpes Metropole, an Independent Project Manager, Auki, Piman Consultants, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Energie Environment Agency, and the National Forestry Office Isere.

The World Café approach involves bringing together local stakeholders with project researchers in small groups around tables for discussion. To prepare for this event the project had defined three areas of discussion relevant to the project and stakeholders were invited to identify specific questions for their particular group.

Three areas for discussion, and in each area there was one French speaking table and one English speaking table:
Topic 1 – Understanding climate change mitigation pathways and their implications to mitigation strategy design
Topic 2 – Improving assessment of and response to climate risks.
Topic 3 – Scientific knowledge to inform policy-makers, planners, businesses and the general public: needs and challenges

Importantly, it was the lead stakeholder who was in charge of leading and moderating discussion on each table. The World Café then had three rounds of 30 minutes discussion, where researchers and other stakeholders moved to the next table after each round. Our Early Career researchers provided excellent support through recording the highlights of the conversations and reporting back after the 3 rounds.

Deep in discussion at the World Cafe

“The question is how to incorporate scientific issues into businesses, so that they can change and adapt.”

Francois Raffin
Founder & director of Auki

Finally, after receiving the summaries of the lively discussions, participants were able to partake of delicious, locally-prepared vegan cuisine and regional refreshments to round off the evening!

Next, the project team want to consider the detailed discussions and how the project can respond to the issues raised. Initial feedback about the World Café has been really positive and indicated that stakeholders (and researchers) would value continued engagement.

See also Our 2nd World-Café event – Making our research relevant – ESM2025

Follow @esm2025 on twitter for updates

Work Experience at the Met Office

By Emma, Lucy and Sofia

During our February half term we did work experience at the Met Office where we got an insight of how work life at the Met Office is. On the first two days we took part in practical projects that were based around the A level subjects we are taking. It was really interesting as it allowed us to see how the content we learn can be used in real life situations at the Met Office. In one of the projects we used maths and programming skills to develop a programme that would calculate the mean global temperature from the models we were given. We also had a member of staff show us how his team would usually simulate and collect data to predict future trends in weather patterns. We also had the opportunity to attend two lectures during our week there, which were presented by specialists in their fields, which also included interactive activities which were really interesting.

Near the end of the week, we worked with a different team who were designing a new board game for educational purposes. As this game was aimed at students who are a few years younger than us, we helped them develop the game by giving suggestions on how we thought the game can be adjusted to be more beneficial for academic use. Through this session we got to see the stages and process required to make educational resources that make students aware of climate change, which personally we thought was very important and it was a fun experience. Overall the whole week was an amazing and unique experience, everyone at the Met Office was very welcoming and the working environment was very friendly.

Optimal High Resolution Earth System Models for Exploring Future Climate Change (OptimESM)

The OptimESM project will provide new and policy-relevant knowledge on the consequences of reaching or exceeding different levels of global warming, including the risk of rapid change in key Earth system phenomena and the regional impacts arising from the level of global warming and the occurrence of abrupt changes.

OptimESM is led by the Rossby Centre at SMHI and brings together 19 institutions from across 10 countries. Six UK organisations (NCAS Reading & Leeds, NOC, Met Office, University of Exeter and University of Bristol) are members of the OptimESM project funded under Horizon Europe and our UKESM model is included in the project. OptimESM started in January 2023 and will run for 5 years.

Keep updated on OptimESM on


The latest publications from UKESM and TerraFIRMA:

Apportionment of the Pre-Industrial to Present-Day Climate Forcing by Methane Using UKESM1: The Role of the Cloud Radiative Effect

Attribution of the 2020 surge in atmospheric methane by inverse analysis of GOSAT observations

Broad-scale benthic habitat classification of the South Atlantic

Choice of Forecast Scenario Impacts the Carbon Allocation at the Same Global Warming Levels (Preprint)

Evaluation of wetland CH4 in the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) land surface model using satellite observations

Historical Ocean Heat Uptake in Two Pairs of CMIP6 Models: Global and Regional Perspectives

Impacts of Climate Change on the Ascension Island Marine Protected Area and its ecosystem services (Preprint)

Interactions between atmospheric composition and climate change – Progress in understanding and future opportunities from AerChemMIP, PDRMIP, and RFMIP (Preprint)

Methane emissions are predominantly responsible for record-breaking atmospheric methane growth rates in 2020 and 2021

Nocturnal plant respiration is under strong non-temperature control

On the application of rainfall projections from a convection-permitting climate model to lumped catchment models

Projected West Antarctic Ocean Warming Caused by an Expansion of the Ross Gyre

Reduced global fire activity due to human demography slows global warming by enhanced land carbon uptake

The Antarctic contribution to 21st-century sea-level rise predicted by the UK Earth System Model with an interactive ice sheet

The Role of Anthropogenic Aerosol Forcing in the 1850-1985 Strengthening of the AMOC in CMIP6 Historical Simulations

The simulation of mineral dust in the United Kingdom Earth System Model UKESM1

UKESM1.1: development and evaluation of an updated configuration of the UK Earth System Model

Very large fluxes of methane measured above Bolivian seasonal wetlands

The next newsletter is due in December 2023