Earth System Modeling as a tool for data and knowledge

In this pilot, we will work on the evaluation and specific improvements of the parametrisations of land-surface attributes of the first African Earth System Model that provides many climate services. The model consists of three main components, namely the conformal-cubic atmospheric model (CCAM) developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, a dynamic land-surface model CABLE (CSIRO Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange) and a global ocean model developed at the Global Change Institute (GCI) at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

We will perform simulations where the model is nudged within the ERA5 reanalysis data for the period 1979-2021, thereby forcing the simulations to be consistent with historical weather patterns, and proceed to evaluate a number of land-atmosphere fluxes and attributes of the simulated land-surface against observations. Additionally, we will take stock of new Earth Observation datasets and in situ observation network to advance the development and assess regional biases of the African-based Earth System Models.

The outcome of this pilot study will help to identify hotspots of carbon flux interannual variations and underlying drivers across Africa, with a specific focus on Southern Africa. It will also help to identify model systematic errors and the need for new observations, in particular for completing atmospheric and eddy covariance networks, building upon the work of SEACRIFOG on network design.