Developing a world-leading UK Earth System Model

Reliable projections of Earth’s climate are central to international efforts to address global change. The development of the UK Earth System Model (UKESM) and its application to generate realistic future projections is, however, a major challenge, requiring the incorporation of state-of-the-art cryosphere models.  A partnership between all 8 NERC research centres and the UK Met Office, UKESM will be the UK’s first Earth System Model.   Based on the Met Office core Global Climate Model (HadGEM3) UKESM aims to provide robust projections of the Earth system response to anthropogenic climate forcing, incorporating all relevant processes and interactions.  This includes marine ice sheet instability and Arctic sea ice loss. UKESM will, for example, include options for ice sheets that interact in a physically consistent way with both the atmosphere above and ocean underneath the ice shelves, making it a world-leading model in this area of science.

CPOM is to supporting the integration of the BISICLES ice sheet model and advanced sea ice physics into UKESM. For BISICLES, we are developing the interface that couples the model to NEMO and JULES, evaluating UKESM with our satellite datasets, and performing coupled simulations for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP).

For sea ice, we are integrating the advanced physics present within our sea ice model, CICE, into UKESM, to ensure that it adequately captures key physical interactions. Once complete, UKESM will be the first coupled model with dynamic and thermodynamic representation of ice sheet and sea ice elements, a unique tool for understanding climate interactions and for making sea level projections.