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New EU project to develop next generation climate system models

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New and better knowledge is needed to support sustainable decision-making on ongoing climate change and avoiding tipping points. OptimESM (Optimal High Resolution Earth System Models for Exploring FutureClimate Change) and its new Earth system models (ESMs) will provide decision-makers with just that.

OptimESM will provide new and policy-relevant knowledge on the consequences of reaching or exceeding different levels of global warming, including the risk of rapid change in key Earth system phenomena and the regional impacts arising both from the level of global warming and the occurrence of abrupt changes.

The new climate models will combine high resolution with an unprecedented description of key physical and biochemical processes. OptimESM will develop new emission and land-use scenarios extending to the year 2300, including ones that realise the Paris Agreement, and others that temporarily or permanently overshoot the Paris targets. Using these scenarios, OptimESM will deliver long-term projections that will increase our understanding of the risk of triggering potential tipping points in the climate system regarding ice sheets, sea ice, ocean circulation, marine ecosystems, permafrost and terrestrial ecosystems.

OptimESM is led by the Rossby Centre at SMHI

OptimESM has been approved for funding by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe research framework and will be led by SMHI climate scientist Torben Königk for the next five years.

“This is in recognition of the excellent research being conducted at SMHI’s Rossby Centre. It is also a testament to the confidence we have gained from our international partners. We are very proud to lead this project and thus have the opportunity to develop new knowledge about future climate change”, says Torben Königk at the Rossby Centre, SMHI.

Science-based and actionable decisions

The project consortium consists of 19 European partners from 10 countries and OptimESM will work with partners from the US, Canada, South Africa, India, Australia and Japan, with expertise in Earth system modelling and regional climate change.

Location and main areas of expertise of the 19 European institutions contributing to OptimESM, and the international partners

“New knowledge and data from OptimESM will be actively disseminated to policy makers, impact research disciplines and the general public. This knowledge sets the stage for actionable and science-based policies,” says Helena Martins, science communicator at the Rossby Centre, who will lead the communication and outreach activities of OptimESM.

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