UK Earth System Modelling News

July 2019

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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ESMValTool: An Evaluation Tool for Earth System Models

by Ranjini Swaminathan, Valeriu Predoi, Lee de Mora.

ESMValTool is an collaborative software system for both routine and advanced evaluation of Earth system models. ESMValTool is beginning to play an important role in international efforts to evaluate and improve ESMs, with UKESM scientists integrally involved in this effort. Read more…

A marine biomes analysis of UKESM1

by Julien Palmieri, Andrew Yool, Katya Popova and Stephenie Henson.

Analysing the distribution and structure of marine biomes can help us understand deficiencies in simulated ocean biogeochemistry in UKESM1, while also highlighting future risks to the marine environment. Read more…

Preliminary results from some fully interactive UKESM1-Antarctic coupling configurations

by Antony Siahaan and Robin Smith.

Antarctic ice sheet melt is the largest uncertainty and biggest risk in future global sea level rise. UKESM scientists are working towards coupling a detailed ice sheet model for Antarctica into UKESM1, leading to the first ever full Earth system model with both Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets interactively coupled. Read more…


18 -21 July 2019 – UKESM at the Blue Dot Music and Science Festival – Macclesfield:

The 2019 Blue Dot Festival ( at Jodrell Bank Observatory, in Macclesfield, is about to open its doors this July from 18th to 21st. Celebrating fifty years since the Moon Landings this July with a four-day spectacular combining music, science, cosmic culture and more beneath the Lovell Telescope.

The UKESM team will be there over the festival weekend, with our exhibit entitled ‘A MODEL EARTH’, to deliver an engaging activity to help the public understand climate change and learn more about Earth System science across the UK. Visitors will be able to watch and touch recent and future climate simulations in our Projecting Globe (Puffersphere) and learn about different aspects of the Earth’s climate and its evolution over this century, have a go at our 3D puzzle or take our quiz and find out who knows the most amongst your friends about the Earth’s climate and climate change.

Follow the link below to take our Quiz and find out if you really are a ‘Master Climate Modeller’!!

1-3 October 2019 – CRESCENDO General Assembly 2019 – Sorbonne University Conference Centre, Paris:

This year the CRESCENDO General Assembly 2019 is taking place in Paris at the Centre International de Conférences Sorbonne Universités (CICSU), organised by Project Partner IPSL-CNRS, between the Tuesday 1st and Thursday 3rd of October 2019.  The EU H2020 CRESCENDO project aims to progress on the next generation of European earth systems models; by (1) Improving the representation of key processes in European Earth System Models, (2) Evaluating thoroughly the scientific performance of these models, (3) Using the models to generate a new set of Earth system projections for the coming century, and (4) Ensuring the knowledge developed in the project is communicated to key stakeholder communities.


27th February 2019 – 1-day UK CMIP6 workshop – Said Business School, Oxford:

The workshop aimed to cover topics such as: Update/inform the community on progress with UK model CMIP6 simulations; Update/inform the community on timelines for UK model data being available on the CEDA Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF); Inform/discuss with the community preferred/optimal ways to access and analyse CMIP6 data; Begin discussions on (UK community) scientific analysis of CMIP6 data (UK models and the wider CMIP6 multi-model ensemble); and Discuss and (possibly) define non-UK model CMIP6 data to be mirrored at the CEDA ESGF.

Follow this link to see a summary of notes and minutes with links to all presentations from this past UK CMIP6 workshop in Oxford.

Further information about CMIP6 workshops and UK preparations for CMIP6 can be found at

11-12 June 2019 – UKESM LTSM annual meeting – NOC, Southampton:

During June 2019, the annual science meeting of the LTSM ESM project took place at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. The meeting was attended by more than 50 scientists from across the UK, drawn from all eight of the participating NERC research centres as well as the Met Office Hadley Centre (download the meeting agenda with links to presentations here).

Day one of the meeting began by updating the community on the science performance of UKESM1 in CMIP6 simulations performed during 2018-2019. This included overview talks on its land, atmosphere and ocean components, its global carbon cycle, and a summary of the fully coupled model. This was followed by a series of contributed talks that described evaluation of the model on a range of more focused topics. These included its sea-ice, Arctic and Antarctic dynamics, ocean heat content, wetland methane, interactive land ice, and marine methane hydrates and biomes. Representatives of sister LTSM projects, ORCHESTRA and ACSIS, also presented analyses of UKESM1 relevant to their respective Southern Ocean and North Atlantic domains. Chris Jones of the MOHC also presented a summary of results from the zero-emissions commitment model intercomparison project (ZECMIP), a key focus for policymakers in light of the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Day two of the meeting continued with further contributed talks exploring UKESM1 evaluation and development. These included fire modelling, atmospheric composition, aerosols and nitrate radicals in the atmosphere. A presentation was also made of the availability of Earth system observational data held by the European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative (ESA-CCI). These presentations were followed by a series of breakout groups the aimed to communicate ongoing analysis and to discuss existing and potential collaborations both within the LTSM project and beyond.

Following on from the main meeting, a workshop introducing users to the ESMValTool suite for model comparison took place. This included hands-on activities assisted by UKESM1 members of its development team, Val Predoi, Ranjini Swaminathan and Lee de Mora.


June 24-July 3, 2019Visualization of UKESM1 output: a work experience project:

by Harry List and Jeremy Walton

Following the release of UKESM1 earlier this year, the model is being extensively used for climate simulations. The display and analysis of its output for various experiments is receiving considerable attention, and visualization can be a useful tool in this context. Recently, Harry List, a 15-year-old student from Blundell’s School in Tiverton, joined the UKESM core group for a work experience project (Harry has just completed his GCSEs). Working in python, and using the Iris library (see, Harry was able to create a range of visualizations from UKESM1 output in a remarkably short time. Below is a one example of his work, taken from an animation of daily precipitation, as modelled by UKESM1.

This figure shows local precipitation for a day in December.  The colourmap goes from white to blue to yellow to orange (orange is wettest).

Commenting on his experience in the core group, Harry said, “The eight days I spent in the Met Office were both productive and enjoyable. I managed to complete a few projects, making my time spent there feel very worthwhile. I must thank Jeremy Walton for being very helpful and patient with me. This experience was better than I could ever have hoped for from a work experience placement, and so I am very grateful to Dr Walton, the UKESM team and the Met Office for making this work.”

For our part, we greatly enjoyed collaborating with Harry, finding him to be a skilled and thorough worker who was able to quickly produce useful results – indeed, we are aiming to use some of Harry’s visualizations on the globe display on our stand at the Bluedot festival later this month (see