EMBRACE: Earth system Model Bias Reduction and assessing Abrupt Climate change

EMBRACE brings together the leading Earth System Models (ESMs) in Europe around a common set of objectives to improve our ability to simulate the Earth System and make reliable projections of future global change.


Policy makers, at the national and international level, must make important policy decisions. On one hand they must act to ensure long term environmental sustainability while on the other hand they wish to minimise the impact such decisions will have on their country’s people, industry and economy in the short term.

Such decisions are easier to make if reliable projections of the future climate are available. By the end of the four year EMBRACE project, it is expected that the improvements made within the Earth System Models will lead to a better picture of the future climate, helping policy makers make more informed decisions on how to best limit, and adapt to, future climate change.


Despite the great advances made over the last few decades, Earth System Models (ESMs) remain very simplified representations of the real earth system. Indeed a number of vital processes of the climate system are missing altogether. This results in ESMs having a reduced ability to provide reliable projections of the future climate change.

EMBRACE aims to address these limitations with a particular focus on areas that are most uncertain or unrealistic in present-day projections. The key goals are:

  • To reduce the main, known biases in existing European ESMs.
  • To fully evaluate the ability of ESMs to simulate earth system processes, with particular attention paid to improvements made within the project.
  • To increase the realism of, and interactions between, the physical and biogeochemical components of ESMs.
  • To assess the risks of abrupt or irreversible changes in key components of the earth system, in response to the most recent greenhouse gas, aerosol and land-use scenarios proposed for the IPCC AR5.

Four primary ESM biases specifically being targeted by the project are:

  • The global carbon cycle;
  • Atmospheric convection and coupled tropical circulation;
  • Coastal and equatorial ocean upwelling;
  • Land surface-climate interactions.

The ESMs will also be used to investigate the risk of abrupt changes to potential tipping points in the climate system, such as the stability of the Atlantic Ocean circulation and the stability of tropical and boreal forest ecosystems to global warming.

More information

For more information please visit the EMBRACE website.