Welcome to UK Earth System Model (UKESM) News from the Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme (JWCRP).

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

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UKESM Newsletter no.5 – June 2017


Parameter tuning for UKESM1

by Alistair Sellar, Jane Mulcahy, Doug Kelley and Colin Jones.

We are nearing the completion of UKESM1 development, with the planned science capabilities now included and all components coupled together, and tuning is an essential final step in the development of all climate models. What remains before finalising the model is to calibrate the fully coupled system to achieve good performance across a range of observed climate indicators, such as radiative fluxes, temperature and rainfall. The individual component models of UKESM (such as atmospheric chemistry, and terrestrial and ocean biogeochemistry) have been developed such that they perform well in isolation, but within the coupled Earth system model they interact with other components and the performance can change markedly. Read more…

Atmospheric Chemistry in UKESM1

by Fiona O’Connor.

Atmospheric trace gas constituents and aerosols exert important influences on global-scale and regional-scale climate. Atmospheric chemistry determines the abundance and lifetime of many greenhouse gases. The UK’s ESM for the 5th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), HadGEM2-ES (Collins et al., 2011), included a representation of atmospheric chemistry (O’Connor et al., 2014) for the first time. UKESM1, however, has enhanced capability as a result of developments through the United Kingdom Chemistry and Aerosol (UKCA) collaborative project between the Met Office and its NERC/NCAS partners. Read more…

Land-use in UKESM1

by Eddy Robertson.

Land-use affects the climate by modifying land-atmosphere fluxes of radiation, heat, water, momentum and CO2. UKESM1 includes 2 classes of managed land: crops and pasture (approximately 11% and 6-23% of the ice free land surface respectively). Representing the carbon cycle and land surface properties over these vast areas is important for climate. It is particularly important to capture transitions between natural and agricultural land, which cause a large land-use change climate forcing. Read more…

UKESM at the Crosscurrents Poetry Event

by Lee de Mora and Ben Smith.

The Crosscurrents event was a marine science and poetry event held at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) in March 2017. At the event, five scientists were paired up with five local poets. The scientists were tasked with presenting their research and the poet shared one or more poems inspired by the science. Lee de Mora represented the UK Earth System Model was paired with the poet Ben Smith from the English department of the University of Plymouth. In this article, we present two aspects of model development and their associated poems: the iterative process of model development and spinning up the simulated ocean’s carbon cycle. Read more…

Recent past events

 20-22 March 2017 – Coupling Technologies for Earth System Models Workshop at Princeton University:

Coupling is an important aspect of the construction of a climate model.  It manages complexity by allowing the system to be separated into domain-specific components (atmosphere, ocean, land, ice, …) each of which can be developed separately or replaced by a component of similar functionality.  Coupling enables collaboration between groups working in disparate scientific domains, and facilitates the efficient use of compute resources by allowing load balancing across the components. Read more about the workshop report.

 23-28 April 2017 – European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna: The European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2017 was held in Vienna on 23-28 April (see http://www.egu2017.eu/). The programme consisted of multiple parallel streams covering a very wide range of subjects; individual sessions had attendance ranging from a handful of people to several hundred.  For example, one of these examined whether a two degree global warming limit was possible without relying on carbon capture and storage. Read more about the EGU meeting report.
 12-13 June 2017 – UKESM-LTSM Annual meeting in Oxford:The NERC-funded UKESM Long Term Science Multi-centre (LTSM) project recently met at the Said Business School, University of Oxford, to continue work on this exciting project. Participants from most of the NERC centres and the Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC), as well as almost all members of our newly formed International Advisory Board, attended the meeting where project member showcased despite some external delays the solid progress towards its primary goals the project is making.

Upcoming events

 3-9 July 2017 – UKESM at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, London:

The 2017 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London is about to open its doors from the 3rd to the 9th of July 2017. Our exhibit entitled ‘A MODEL EARTH’ will deliver an engaging activity to help the public understand climate change and learn more about Earth System science across the UK. For more information visit our webpage at  https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2017/summer-science-exhibition/exhibits/a-model-earth/