Project Start Date

02nd Aug 2017


Project End Date

23rd Aug 2017

EC-Earth Climate Simulations - Ireland’s Contributions to CMIP6

This EPA-funded project involves using the ‘EC-Earth’ Global Climate Model to simulate global climate change.

ICHEC Visualization of Met Éireann EC-EARTH climate projection data. The annual 2m temperature change with respect to the 30-year baseline (1961-1990) is presented for both the RCP4.5 (medium) and RCP8.5 (high) scenarios.


EC-Earth Global Climate Model

Global Climate Models (GCMs) provide projections of future climate conditions based on different atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations or, more broadly, different levels of radiative forcing of the climate system. Climate models are some of the most complex models in all of science and require powerful HPC systems in order to run multi-decadal simulations. One such model is the EC-Earth global climate model. EC-Earth is a consortium of European countries set up to develop a fully coupled Atmosphere-Ocean-Land-Biosphere-Cryosphere climate model. Met Éireann and ICHEC form the EC-Earth consortium for Ireland and have previously collaborated on running EC-Earth model simulations. The results contributed towards the 5th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) experiments, which formed an essential part of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5, 2013).


CMIP5 EC-EARTH climate projection data. The annual 2m temperature change with respect to the 30-year baseline (1961-1990) is presented for both the RCP4.5 (medium) and RCP8.5 (high) scenarios.

CMIP5 EC-EARTH projections of annual sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice fraction for March and September until 2100. Because of the high heat capacity of water, the SST lags behind atmospheric temperatures. Hence, the artic sea ice is at a maximum during March and minimum during September.

Current EPA-funded study

Although analyses of the CMIP5 data will continue for several more years, science gaps and outstanding questions have prompted preparations for the sixth phase of the project (CMIP6). ICHEC, EPA and Met Éireann are currently collaborating on running a large ensemble of CMIP6 EC-Earth simulations on the ICHEC and European supercomputing systems. The EC-Earth CMIP6 simulations will provide sharper and more accurate projections of the future global climate and lead to a better understanding, not only of the physical climate system, but also of the climate impact on societies. The resulting analysis of the climate projections will enhance the overall understanding of anthropogenic climate change on a global scale and will assist in presenting a case for a follow-on to the COP21 agreements. The simulations will be included for assessment in the expected IPCC AR6 reports.

ICHEC and Met Éireann are committed to running the following EC-Earth CMIP6 contributions:

  • 12 simulations with standard spatial resolution (~80km) for the period, 1850-2100. The future climate will be simulated for all four RCP scenarios (2.6, 4.5, 6.0, & 8.5),
  • 2 high-resolution (~40km) 1951-2100 simulations.

The planned simulations, outlined above, are a minimum estimation of our planned CMIP6 contributions. The data are stored on the ESGF node at ICHEC, where it will be published and made available to national researchers and the wider international research community such as CORDEX and CMIP6.

Overall funding
Funded Months