Humans are conducting a long-term environmental experiment by emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, converting forest into farmland and urban areas, and otherwise changing the environment in numerous ways.
The Earth’s climate system is extremely complex. Our research is working to understand it, by developing highly sophisticated models called Earth System Models, or ESMs - mathematical representations of the global climate system. These are run on supercomputers to simulate both the past and future climate, and to understand and predict how the Earth’s climate may evolve over the coming century. They accurately represent both the physical climate and the range of biological and chemical processes and interactions that make up the Earth’s system.
Together with the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), the Met Office Hadley Centre and several UK universities, we have developed the first UK national Earth system model (UKESM1). This model will enable the UK to stay at the forefront of scientific research into climate change, and will provide scientific evidence to support UK and international policy addressing the risk of global climate and environmental change.
Hands-on at the exhibit:
• Watch and touch recent and future climate simulations in our Projecting Globe (Puffersphere) and learn about different aspects of the Earth’s climate and its evolution over this century; • Take our quiz and find out who knows the most amongst your friends about the Earth’s climate and climate change; • Have a go at our 3D puzzle - pick up seven different pieces representing different components of the Earth’s climate system, and put them in the right places to build up your own Earth system model!