Climate and Earth system modelling


Climate and Earth system modelling is the use of mathematical representations of key components and properties of the atmosphere, ocean and biosphere to construct computer models. These models – which can range significantly in their complexity, depending on their intended application – are used to simulate important aspects of the Earth system and indicate how they may change in the future.


Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Cool roofs have been shown to mitigate heat in urban areas, but their impact on water conservation has not been examined. Here the authors conduct simulations with an urban canopy model to show that implementation of cool roofs in California can also reduce outdoor water consumption by up to 9%.

    • Pouya Vahmani
    •  & Andrew D. Jones
  • Research | | open

    Land use and land cover change has led to more frequent hot, dry summers in parts of the mid-latitudes. Here the authors use an Earth system model to show that regions converted to crops and pastures experience hot, dry summers 2 to 4 times more frequently than they would if native forests had remained.

    • Kirsten L. Findell
    • , Alexis Berg
    • , Pierre Gentine
    • , John P. Krasting
    • , Benjamin R. Lintner
    • , Sergey Malyshev
    • , Joseph A. Santanello Jr.
    •  & Elena Shevliakova
  • Research | | open

    Debate exists on the sign of change in tropical atmospheric circulation during global warming. Here the authors show a weaker Walker cell over the Indian Ocean during the warmer late Holocene compared to the globally colder Last Glacial Maximum, implying a further slowdown of the Walker cell in response to warming.

    • Mahyar Mohtadi
    • , Matthias Prange
    • , Enno Schefuß
    •  & Tim C. Jennerjahn
  • Research | | open

    Climate models repeatedly show a warm and dry bias over the central United States, but the origin of this bias remains unclear. Here the authors associate this bias to precipitation deficits in models and after applying a correction, projected precipitation in this region shows no significant changes.

    • Yanluan Lin
    • , Wenhao Dong
    • , Minghua Zhang
    • , Yuanyu Xie
    • , Wei Xue
    • , Jianbin Huang
    •  & Yong Luo
  • Research |

    Past studies suggest the North American monsoon will weaken in the future. Correcting for model sea-surface temperature biases, however, reveals a reduction in monsoon-related precipitation due to increased atmospheric stability.

    • Salvatore Pascale
    • , William R. Boos
    • , Simona Bordoni
    • , Thomas L. Delworth
    • , Sarah B. Kapnick
    • , Hiroyuki Murakami
    • , Gabriel A. Vecchi
    •  & Wei Zhang

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The release of methane trapped in Martian subsurface reservoirs following planetary obliquity shifts may have contributed to episodic climate warming between 3.6 and 3 billion years ago, explaining evidence for ancient ice-covered lakes.

    • Alberto G. Fairén
    Nature Geoscience 10, 717–718
  • Editorial |

    Understanding of anthropogenic climate change has evolved since the IPCC's First Assessment Report. Further progress relies on continued collaboration between observationalists and modellers.

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Since 1990, the wide range in model-based estimates of equilibrium climate warming has been attributed to disparate cloud responses to warming. However, major progress in our ability to understand, observe, and simulate clouds has led to the conclusion that global cloud feedback is likely positive.

    • Mark D. Zelinka
    • , David A. Randall
    • , Mark J. Webb
    •  & Stephen A. Klein
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland are the largest uncertainty in sea-level projections. Nevertheless, improvements in ice-sheet models over recent decades have led to closer agreement with satellite observations, keeping track with their increasing contribution to global sea-level rise.

    • Andrew Shepherd
    •  & Sophie Nowicki