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UK Earth System Modelling (UKESM)

Earth and code, courtesy of dreamstime

Completed project

Project start: April 2017  |  Project end: March 2021
Funder: NERC Cross-centre National Capability
Principal Investigator: Jerry Blackford
Other participants from PML: Dr Gennadi Lessin, Dr Lee de Mora, Dr Luca Polimene, Dr Yuri Artioli, Jerry Blackford, Professor Icarus Allen

Global climate change is one of the leading environmental threats facing mankind. To develop appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies requires accurate projections of the future state of the Earth’s climate.

To address the need to simulate both the changing global climate and the carbon cycle response to a changing climate and changing atmospheric composition, we are developing the 1st UK Earth system model, based on the core physical GCM, HadGEM3, developed at the Met Office. This development is a major collaboration between NERC centres and the Met Office, integrating a large body of core research and development into a single, world-leading ESM.


The project will support the final development and community release of the 1st UKESM models, as well as application of these models to a range of collaborative science experiments carried out at the international level to support the IPCC AR6. The project has a major emphasis on evaluating the full range of climate and biogeochemical processes and interactions simulated by UKESM1 models with an aim to increase confidence in future projections made with the models. The project will also generate and analyse a suite of such projections and deliver a set of robust estimates of Earth system change to UK government, business and the public. Finally, the project will initiate long-term development of a 2nd version of the UKESM model, for release around 2023.