What is the Earth System and how do you model it?

The Earth system is made up of numerous processes that interact with each other – a bit like a jigsaw.

For example, the cycling of carbon around the Earth system depends on numerous, interacting processes like; chemical interactions in the atmosphere, uptake of carbon by plants, which themselves depend on rainfall and temperature; and uptake by the ocean, which depends on ocean temperatures and biological activity in the seas.  Changes to any part of this complex web of interactions can have severe consequences elsewhere.

Scientists already know a lot about how some of these processes work and interact, however, for others they know a lot less and need to get a better understanding of them.

These processes and their interactions can be explained in terms of physics, biology and chemistry. This science can be represented by a large series of interacting maths equations that are solved on a supercomputer.

Click on any of the jigsaw pieces to see more about that part of the Earth system

We are a team of scientists and computing specialists..

and recently we developed a new model of the Earth system.

The UKESM model is based on a climate model from the Met Office and is then coupled with other components that represent parts of the Earth system (such as, ocean model, sea-ice, land surface model).

These coupled models are tested against measurements (observations) of the environment, such as, carbon dioxide in the air, cloud cover, sea ice melt, temperature and many others.