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Earth System Models are mathematical descriptions of the real world at the cutting edge of understanding how our planet works and the links between the main components of the oceans, vegetation, ice and desert, gases in the atmosphere, and the carbon cycle, as well as numerous other components. Earth System Models are a developed based on traditional climate models, extending these typically physical models, to also include chemical and biological processes of importance in the climate system. Earth system models are increasingly the primary tools used for estimating the full Earth system response to future emissions of greenhouse gases. Hence it is crucial these models are continually improved in order that more reliable future climate projections can be made. See the Nature Knowledge Project for more on Earth System and Climate Models.

The CRESCENDO project, led by Colin Jones from the University of Leeds and UK Met Office, aims to facilitate a coordinated European contribution to the CMIP6 experiment where the climate change community compares different international climate models to improve our knowledge of the Earth’s climate processes and provide the best possible future climate projections to governments and decision-makers (6th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project = CMIP6). CRESCENDO in particular better informs a number of key Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) where Earth system model components are of critical importance to delivering realistic future projections. . Such components include; the terrestrial and marine carbon cycle, vegetation processes, permafrost, atmospheric chemistry and aerosols.