Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Model description paper
20 Jan 2017
Model description paper |  | 20 Jan 2017

The compact Earth system model OSCAR v2.2: description and first results

Thomas Gasser, Philippe Ciais, Olivier Boucher, Yann Quilcaille, Maxime Tortora, Laurent Bopp, and Didier Hauglustaine

Abstract. This paper provides a comprehensive description of OSCAR v2.2, a simple Earth system model. The general philosophy of development is first explained, followed by a complete description of the model's drivers and various modules. All components of the Earth system necessary to simulate future climate change are represented in the model: the oceanic and terrestrial carbon cycles – including a book-keeping module to endogenously estimate land-use change emissions – so as to simulate the change in atmospheric carbon dioxide; the tropospheric chemistry and the natural wetlands, to simulate that of methane; the stratospheric chemistry, for nitrous oxide; 37 halogenated compounds; changing tropospheric and stratospheric ozone; the direct and indirect effects of aerosols; changes in surface albedo caused by black carbon deposition on snow and land-cover change; and the global and regional response of climate – in terms of temperature and precipitation – to all these climate forcers. Following the probabilistic framework of the model, an ensemble of simulations is made over the historical period (1750–2010). We show that the model performs well in reproducing observed past changes in the Earth system such as increased atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases or increased global mean surface temperature.

Short summary
Simple models of the Earth system are useful, especially because of their high computing efficiency. This work describes the OSCAR model: a new simple Earth system model calibrated on state-of-the-art complex models. It will add to the pool of the few simple models currently used by the community, and it will therefore improve the robustness of future studies. Its source code is available upon request.