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Integrative activities | Earth System Model

Earth System Model

Modelling is an essential part of Earth system science, whether the focus of research is on understanding the past, present or future. One of QUEST’s strategic activities is to develop a new fully coupled Earth system model of intermediate resolution, which will include the interactions of chemistry, ecosystems and climate.

New modules for ocean and land biosphere processes and for atmospheric chemistry and aerosols will be developed that build on the research in Theme 1 projects, and also on core activities of the NCAS Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling (CGAM) and of CEH. CGAM has been contracted to coordinate this model development activity, basing the new QUEST ESM on the Hadley Centre’s latest climate model, HadGEM1.

The QUEST ESM is scheduled to be completed in 2009, and will be available to the whole NERC community, through a flexible user interface. The intention is that the modelling framework will also allow for interfacing with socio-economic models, building on research in QUEST’s Theme 3 projects.

QESM Modules (co-ordinated by NCAS/CGAM):

UKCA chemistry module
NCAS and U Cambridge/QUEST T1

UKCA aerosol module
U Leeds

QUEST Plankton Functional Type
Marine biogeochemistry module


Joint UK Land Environment Simulator

The coupled model development will create a hierarchy of models, with lower complexity and resolution models used for applications that require the ability to perform long simulations or multiple sensitivity experiments. As far as possible, the underlying principles of the models at different levels will be the same and the simplifications made in going from one level to the next will be explicit and transparent.

In the first phase of this three year activity, the existing low-resolution climate model, FAMOUS (a low-resolution version of HADCM3, the Hadley Centre’s previous climate model), will be extended to include an interactive carbon cycle and given a new user-friendly interface. Beyond this early stage, various strategic decisions will have to be made before the final construction of the higher-resolution QUEST ESM. The planned Earth system model developments for both QUEST and the Hadley Centre have very significant synergies, and the UK strategic plan for Earth System Modelling developed jointly by the Hadley Centre and the QUEST consortia allows for ongoing research and modelling activities to be exploited as soon as this becomes feasible.

Website: http://www.quest-esm.ac.uk/

Contact: quest-esm-info@lists.rdg.ac.uk