UK Earth System Modelling News

January 2021

The UK Earth system modelling project is a joint venture between the Met Office and the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to develop and apply a world-leading Earth System Model.

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Evaluation of sulphur species and improved SO2 dry deposition parameterization in UKESM1

by Catherine Hardacre, Jane Mulcahy, Richard Pope, Colin Jones, Steve Rumbold, Can Li.

An accurate representation of sulphur processes in models is essential for constraining uncertainties associated with the impacts of aerosols on the Earth system and in understanding the global climate. In this study we evaluate simulated surface SO2 and sulphate concentrations simulated by UKESM1 against observations. Read more…

Using UKESM1 to model the climate response to reductions in emissions caused by COVID-19

by Jeremy Walton, Steve Rumbold, Yongming Tang and Chris Jones.

Many countries responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by restricting travel and other activities in 2020.  This in turn caused a temporary reduction in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases,  as well as ozone and aerosol precursors.  We have used UKESM1 to investigate whether these reductions have any impact on the Earth’s climate in the near future. Read more…

The Virtual Trees of UKESM

by Douglas Kelley, Nathan Betts, Chantelle Burton, Rebecca Oliver, Arthur Argles, Karina Williams, Chris Jones, Eleanor Blyth, Rahayu Adzhar, France Gerard, Li Guangqi, Lina Mercado, Doug Clark

photo of trees

When we include trees in UKESM, we have to consider how they might affect rainfall, cloud formation, chemistry and global temperature rise. But the world’s forests are sensitive to global environmental change – some driving an expansion of forests, some impeding their ability to help regulate their local services and global climate. Getting our trees as close to the real world as possible is therefore critical to the performance of UKESM. Read more…


Climate Science2policy workshop with the EU

UKESM is one of the partner modelling systems in a European funded project, CRESCENDO (Coordinated Research In Earth Systems And Climate: Experiments, Knowledge, Dissemination And Outreach). CRESCENDO, along with a cluster of Horizon 2020 Climate and Earth System Science projects, took part in the Climate Science2Policy workshop on 17 and 18 November 2020. The workshop was organised by the European Commission, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized enterprises (EASME), which facilitates interactions with policy directorates in the European Commission.

The workshop presented the latest scientific results on climate sensitivity and on the physical science of climate change, as well as identifying key policy-relevant messages and future research needs. Please follow the links below to visit the wealth of material that was generated by the workshop.


UKESM in the research literature


UKESM2 – the next generation..

Planning for UKESM2 is already underway! UKESM2 will be developed on top of the next Global Coupled 5.0 (GC5.0) configuration. We plan to start building UKESM2 on a frozen GC5 configuration in early 2022 with the aim of having a working UKESM2 model by mid-2024 in time for an envisaged CMIP7. Scientists wishing to contribute new developments to UKESM2 should contact Jane Mulcahy ( soon to outline their plans. You can find more information on the process and timelines on the UKESM trac homepage.

UKESM receives a 1-year extension

The UKESM Team is pleased to announce that the UKESM project has been extended by UKRI-NERC for a year (from April 2021 to March 2022). A follow-on programme to the first phase of UKESM is being drafted.

UKESM partners in new EU research project – ESM2025

We are delighted to announce that we will continue our long tradition of working with our European partners on Earth System Modelling through a new EU research project ESM2025. This project will be led by our French partner, Météo France (MF-CNRM) and will start in summer 2021.

The main goal of this new project is to develop the next generation of European Earth System Models, with an improved representation of the full Earth system response to anthropogenic emissions and an improved treatment of human land use change. Results from these ESMs will help to improve the consistency of climate and mitigation-relevant processes in Earth system models and Integrated assessment models.

Coordinated simulations with the new models, and the ensuing knowledge, will deliver underpinning scientific support to mitigation actions targeting successful realization of the Paris Climate Agreement. Knowledge developed in the project will also provide the most robust guidance ever on future risks to the global environment, supporting policy requirements in the area of global change adaptation. 


UKESM Science Manager

Congratulations to Jane Mulcahy who takes up the role in UKESM of Science Manager replacing Alistair Sellar. Jane currently manages the atmospheric development and evaluation aspects of UKESM with a research background in aerosol model development and aerosol-climate interactions. She looks forward to working with the wider ESM community as we continue our science exploitation of UKESM1 models while also beginning to plan and develop UKESM2. We will miss Alistair and wish him well in his new role as Strategic Head of Global Model Evaluation and Development in the Met Office.