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Volume 9, issue 3 | Copyright
Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 1045-1062, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-1045-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Aug 2018

Research article | 21 Aug 2018

Improving the representation of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in climate models: impact of a new parameterization for the Community Earth System Model (CESM)

Andrés Navarro, Raúl Moreno, and Francisco J. Tapiador Andrés Navarro et al.
  • Institute of Environmental Sciences (ICAM), University of Castilla–La Mancha, 45004 Toledo, Spain

Abstract. ESMs (Earth system models) are important tools that help scientists understand the complexities of the Earth's climate. Advances in computing power have permitted the development of increasingly complex ESMs and the introduction of better, more accurate parameterizations of processes that are too complex to be described in detail. One of the least well-controlled parameterizations involves human activities and their direct impact at local and regional scales. In order to improve the direct representation of human activities and climate, we have developed a simple, scalable approach that we have named the POPEM module (POpulation Parameterization for Earth Models). This module computes monthly fossil fuel emissions at grid-point scale using the modeled population projections. This paper shows how integrating POPEM parameterization into the CESM (Community Earth System Model) enhances the realism of global climate modeling, improving this beyond simpler approaches. The results show that it is indeed advantageous to model CO2 emissions and pollutants directly at model grid points rather than using the same mean value globally. A major bonus of this approach is the increased capacity to understand the potential effects of localized pollutant emissions on long-term global climate statistics, thus assisting adaptation and mitigation policies.

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Earth system models provide simplified accounts of human–Earth interactions. Most current models treat CO2 emissions as a homogeneously distributed forcing. However, this paper presents a new parameterization, POPEM (POpulation Parameterization for Earth Models), that computes anthropogenic CO2 emissions at a grid point scale. A major advantage of this approach is the increased capacity to understand the potential effects of localized pollutant emissions on long-term global climate statistics.
Earth system models provide simplified accounts of human–Earth interactions. Most current models...
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