About the project

Human  societies  are  facing  grand  challenges,  which  are  expected  to  become  even  more prominent  during  the  next  decades —with  climate  change, availability  of  food,  clean  water  and  geoenergy  resources  being  just  some  examples.  In  order  to  address  these  grand challenges,  the  scientific  community  needs  to  develop  tools  that  provide  decision-makers with  the  information  required to effectively  manage  these  issues.  Earth  system  modelling  is such  a  tool,  as  it  enables  investigating  problems  in  an  integrated  manner  considering interactions between different Earth system compartments and across scales —from local to global scales, and from weather time scales to millennia and beyond. 

The ultimate goal of the project is to develop, evaluate and apply a world-leading Earth system modelling infrastructure —leading into an Earth System Simulator— to provide solutions to grand challenges faced by the Earth and environmental sciences.

Scientific and technical activities—the Scientific-technical Core—lie at the heart of the project. These include Earth System Model Development (WP1), the establishment of Earth System Data Assimilation (WP2) capacity as well as the development of an Earth System Diagnosis (WP3) framework. It is this Scientific-technical core, which will be developed into the first version of the “Earth System Simulator” in PoF-IV. In order to push existing boundaries in numerical experimentation, Frontier Simulations will be carried out in WP4. These “community” simulations will contribute to solving some of the grand challenges faced by the Earth and environmental sciences. At the same time, these simulations serve as demonstrations of the capability of the Earth system model infrastructure. The scientifically focussed work will be flanked by a Strategic Development component (WP5) that will lead into a long-term Earth system modelling strategy as well as a concrete implementation plan for PoF-IV.