Earth System Modelling and Prediction
Developing and utilising the New Zealand Earth System Model to produce improved projections of climate change.
The focus of this programme is to assemble the first New Zealand Earth System Model (NZESM), which will sit in the heart of the Deep South Challenge work.
An Earth System Model combines the physical processes of atmospheric and oceanic circulation with the chemical and biological processes that impact the Earth system.
Earth system models inform international assessments of climate, such as the assessment reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Addressing limitations of international models
Developing the NZESM will mean that we no longer need to base climate projections on overseas models. This is important because due to their focus on Northern Hemisphere climate, overseas models often poorly represent some processes in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The resulting biases can then have serious consequences for the quality of projections over Aotearoa-New Zealand.
Building on existing work and collaboration
The development of the New Zealand Earth System Model will not start from scratch. Existing models provide important building blocks that apply anywhere, and our modellers will be supported by strong collaborations with overseas partners.
One of few national Earth System Models in the world
Notably, this work will put Aotearoa-New Zealand in with the handful of other countries that run their own Earth System Models, and give us the resource and expertise to contribute to global climate modelling efforts.
Primary Contact and Science Lead
The following projects have been funded under the Earth System Modelling and Prediction programme:
- Simulating New Zealand's changing climate
- Near-term climate predictions for New Zealand
- Antarctic sea ice
- Clouds & aerosols over the Southern Ocean
- Evaluating the NZESM against modern & historical observations
- The Southern Ocean in a warming world
- Stratospheric chemistry in the NZESM, led by NIWA, Wellington
- Testing the NZESM through a single vertical column, led by Bodeker Scientific
- New methods to simulate Southern Ocean clouds, led by University of Canterbury
- Melting ice in the NZESM
Have a look at all Deep South Challenge Projects
Latest news and updates
Susan Livengood is the Partnerships Director of the Deep South Challenge, and works within the Engagement programme – which tries to connect what’s happening in every programme of the challenge with both the broader public and with targeted individuals and organisations throughout New Zealand’s public and private sectors.
Q&A with NIWA's sea ice researcher Natalie Robinson