Future climate

To find out how we will face future climate change, it is necessary to understand how the climate system works and how we assume that the climate will change.

The climate system consists of five main components – atmosphere, ocean, ice, soil, and ecosystems. These components mutually influence each other. Actual climate data only provides information about the past and present.

Climate models are used to simulate what the climate will be like. Through so-called climate projections, calculations of climatic conditions are carried out for the future, including calculation of greenhouse gas emissions. Through calculations of emissions from for example coal power and natural gas, and the effects these will have on the amount of greenhouse gases, you can compare the consequences of using different energy sources.

The various models used each have their strengths and weaknesses, and will be able to produce different results. By comparing calculations from several models, more reliable results are obtained. In the World Climate Research Program “WCRP”, such comparisons are made in project CMIP (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project). This also includes data from the Norwegian Earth System Model NorESM. The Nansen Center has participated in the development of NorESM, and uses this model to study regional and global climate contexts. Through the CMIP project, the center contributes research results to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For more information, contact research leader François Counillon.


For access to NorESM, a tool for producing climate forecasts, go to GitHub or the NorESM-website


For access to NorCPM, a tool for producing climate forecasts and reanalyses, go to the NorCPM-info page for information. All the code to run the system is available on GitHub. Access is private, so request an account to gain access.