Frontier Simulations: Pushing the boundaries to solve grand challenges

This photograph shows the start of the Nartuby's flood recession in Trans-en-Provence (France) in the next day of deadly floods of June 15, 2010. Credit: Dimitri Defrance (distributed via

What are Frontier Simulations?

Frontier Simulations a set of cutting-edge numerical experiments, using the latest Earth system modelling technology developed within the ESM project, to contribute to solving environmental challenges. Frontier simulations go beyond the state-of-the-art (e.g., in terms of resolution, process-representation or ensemble size) and the data will be shared widely, both with the participating partners and the wider scientific community.

What Frontier Simulations are we performing within the ESM project?

ESM project partners work on five types of Frontier Simulations:

Multiscale global change projections: a set of global change projections with Earth system models that employ a new generation of ocean/sea-ice models with multi-resolution capacity to push existing boundaries of current model configurations used for global climate projections.

Monsoon systems in a changing climate: two experiments that will provide a unique set of model data describing the state of the current monsoon (including variability) and an outlook on how climate change will affect monsoon systems from seasonal to decadal time scales to reduce uncertainties in the description of monsoon-related processes and feedback mechanism, and to improve our predictive skill for seasonal and decadal changes.

European hydrometeorological extremes: numerical experiments over Europe at convection-resolving resolution with a seamless wave-ocean-hydro-meteorological prediction system to understand processes, reduce uncertainty of prediction through data assimilation, and simulate socio-economic impacts due to hydro-meteorological extremes.

Cross-compartmental matter cycling, from land to sea: high-resolution simulations with a coastal ocean model for Europe, a model for the marine biosphere and continental scale hydrological model coupled with biogeochemical modules to address the insufficient land-ocean coupling in today’s coastal models limiting the potential to project climate and anthropogenic changes and to assess mitigation and adaptation measures for the coastal ocean.

Georeservoirs: a novel workflow dedicated to accurately represent relevant physical processes and their coupling of interest for georeservoir utilisation (with grid-adaptive spatial resolutions and fine temporal resolutions). The workflow will be organised in a modular fashion and will be realised based on different computational components addressing the basic steps from data assimilation and integration, dynamic physics-based simulation and 4D visualisation of the results.

When will results of the Frontier Simulations be available?

Developing the model systems being used along with finalising the details of the experimental setups has taken the big part of the first two years of the project. The simulations themselves are starting now and will take approximately half year. Analysis of the model results will therefore start during the last months of the 2019 with publication around spring 2020.