Between IPCC AR4 (2007) and AR5 (2013) a number of physical Global Climate Models (GCMs) have been extended into Earth system models (ESMs), primarily through inclusion of an interactive treatment of the global carbon cycle (Cias et al. 2013). This has allowed an assessment of the potential response of the Earth’s carbon sources and sinks to both a changing climate and changing atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Furthermore, ESMs are beginning to allow investigation of a range of important environmental responses to a warming climate and increasing CO2 concentrations, some of which may feedback onto global climate change itself. ESMs also form a direct link between climate change and human activities, both near-term mitigation of aerosols, methane and black carbon and long-term emission targets require detailed knowledge of biogeochemical processes and feedbacks which only ESMs can provide.
IPCC AR5 highlighted that a new set of policy-relevant questions can be addressed by ESMs, such as; the level of CO2 emissions compatible with a given climate stabilization target or calculation of a new related climate change metric, the transient climate response to cumulative carbon emissions (IPCC AR5 2013; Gillet et al. 2013). However, routine and coordinated assessment of ESM performance remains fairly limited and large uncertainty in ESM output hinders their productive use in decision making. With these factors in mind, CRESCENDO targets a systematic improvement and evaluation of the overall process realism of European ESMs to enhance confidence in their projections and increase the range of questions for which such model scan be reliably used.
- Ciais, P. et al. (2013). Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Gillett N, Vivek K. Arora, Damon Matthews, and Myles R. Allen (2013): Constraining the Ratio of Global Warming to Cumulative CO2 Emissions Using CMIP5 Simulations. J. Climate, 26, 6844–6858.
- IPCC, 2013: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Stocker, T.F. and co-editors CUP 1535 pp.
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