The KeyCLIM project set out to better understand, calculate and reduce the uncertainty related to climate change in Northern Latitudes, especially in the Arctic. The project group has assembled new model scenarios and data documenting large and partly irreversible climate changes in the north for the next 50-300 years.


Several key processes will be improved in NorESM, drawing on knowledge from the broad Norwegian climate modelling research community. This includes interactive ice sheets, improved representation of atmospheric and oceanic planetary boundary layers and biogeochemical exchange fluxes of climate relevant species. An array of new modelling experiments is planned in more detail for studying cloud feedbacks and coupling between ocean and atmosphere. The project is prepared to look beyond year 2100 and explore what climate will establish itself as a result of a reduced Greenland ice sheet and an ice-free Arctic Ocean.

Project Summary

The projected enhanced warming of the northern latitudes in the forthcoming decades will impact the region’s hydrological cycle, the cryosphere and biogeochemical cycles, impacts which are associated with forecasted, significant changes of the Earth System functioning. It is not clear how the northern world will look like with a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean, changed atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns and the many specific responses of the Northern Earth system. It will require a powerful Earth System model to generate new understanding of the possible future climate evolution. Scandinavian and Norwegian climate will be in particular affected by Earth System changes in the North Atlantic, Arctic and adjacent land masses, thus this region is chosen to be key for this project. The core research community utilizing the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) is assembled for this project proposal to improve our understanding on three levels: 1) to analyze bias and deficiencies in NorESM, engaging into complementary analysis of the CMIP6 model experiment archive and re-analysis data, from this to recommend on model development needs; 2) to study those key Earth System processes in the key region which are important for the northern climate evolution for the next 50-300 years, improving NorESM where needed; 3) isolate the role of sphere couplings and feedbacks for future projection of climate with a suite of specifically designed NorESM coupled simulations, supplementing CMIP6. Ultimately KeyCLIM shall achieve a much improved picture of the near and long term future climate for northern latitudes and Norway, providing open data to the climate mitigation and impact community. KeyCLIM studies of the interaction between the spheres and important feedbacks will allow the research community to assess the possibility of irreversible changes in the climate system.

Project Details
Funding Agency: 
Research Council of Norway
NERSC Principal Investigator: 
Richard Davy
Coordinating Institute: 
Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center
Project Status: