EARTHCLIM is a nationally coordinated climate research project, gathering Universities and research institutes from Bergen, Oslo and Tromsø. Central to EARTHCLIM is to improve, implement and verify climate processes in the Norwegian community Earth System Model (ESM) NorESM that are of particular importance at high latitudes, and consequently for polar climate. As the tropics are central for global heat and moisture budgets, as well as for generating major climate variability modes, analysis of climate fe edbacks, responses and sensitivities incorporates lower latitudes as well.
As choice of method, the model development, testing and analysis in the project is based on (but not limited to) NorESM. NorESM is unique notably through the state-of-the-art aero sol-cloud scheme and the isopycnic coordinate ocean component, and it contributes to the much desired climate model diversity in the upcoming Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due 2013/14.
The large range in climate sensitivity and its long tail create a possibility of strong future warming and hinders a quantification of emissions reductions needed to meet future temperature targets. In EARTHCLIM, climate sensitivity and climate feedback mechanisms, based on but not limited to NorESM, will be quantified with respect to its climate sensitivity. The carbon cycle feedback will be given particular consideration. A fundamentally different method to quantify the climate sensitivity is to use the observed temperatu re record and estimates of net radiative forcing and fast feedbacks. This quantification has been difficult due to the large uncertainties related to short-lived components; in particular aerosols and clouds. To improve this a better quantification of the aerosol effects in NorESM will be sought. To further explore the sensitivity of the climate system, the natural variability and spatial variations in the response will also be investigated.