REALM: Reinventing Ecosystem And Land-surface Models

October 2018 sees the start of the next big project for Professor Iain Colin Prentice and his new team. REALM, the acronym for ‘Reinventing Ecosystem And Land-surface Models’, plans to re-think how climate change models work.

There are three reasons why the REALM project will benefit Earth System Models:

1)      Using the first principles approach based on the optimality hypothesis, a much simpler equation will be developed that will remove a lot of the ambiguous data which leads to inherent complications and inaccuracies.

2)      Over recent years, there has been a huge increase in the amount of data available and in the variety of relevant observations that can be used to explain interactions in their simplest form.

3)      REALM will integrate functional biology into dynamic global vegetation models.

REALM Team (left to right): David Sandoval Calle, Alienor Lavergne, Ramesh Ningthoujam, Rodolfo Nobrega, Keith Bloomfield, Wenjia Cai, Alison Prior, Catherine Morfopoulos, Iain Colin Prentice, Natalie Sanders

The project will develop a novel theoretical and modelling framework to answer questions about the role of land ecosystems in the Earth System. It will be structured around four Challenges:

(1) to explain and predict the carbon and water exchanges of ecosystems;

(2) to model the functional diversity of plant communities;

(3) to explain and predict global phytogeographic patterns; and

(4) to model vegetation processes and carbon cycling in a changing environment.

The project is funded for five years by the European Research Council and aims to revolutionize the way numerical models are developed for the land biosphere and its interactions with the changing climate.

We look forward to sharing the progress of the REALM project on this site over the coming years.

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