Grand Theme 2 – Understanding and modelling Planet Earth as a Complex System (Lead: Peter Cox)

Coupling in ESMs

AIMES will continue the development and use of Earth System Models as a tool for understanding complex dynamics through CxMIP (Coupledx Model Intercomparison Program, x = carbon, climate, communities…), increasingly focusing on the simulation, analysis and evaluation of emergent behaviour (as described above).  Coupled carbon-climate, in future models, human-environment and other emergent phenomena will be compared to observations, and in addition, gaps in our observing portfolio that limit our ability to evaluate emergent behaviour may emerge from this activity, and will serve to inform the Observing activity (below).

Tipping Points

IGBP-AIMES, and its forerunner IGBP-GAIM, has been instrumental in the identification of climate “tipping points” that could result in abrupt and/or irreversible changes (Lenton et al., 2008). AIMES will continue to promote research on tipping points, with the goal of providing techniques that could be used across the whole-range of disciplines that will contribute to Future Earth – from the economics of market crashes to the dynamics of human migration.  An intriguing research question is the possibility of the existence of “social tipping points” and whether they can be identified and, more fundamentally, of the potential for socio-ecological tipping points (and elements).

(Lead: Peter Cox)

Integrated Modelling of Human and Environmental Systems