Bjerknessenterets mål er å forstå klima
til nytte for samfunnet.

Climate modelling

Climate models are indispensable tools when studying past, present and future climate. Using models we can explore complex processes and develop climate projections for the future.


At the Bjerknes Centre modelling has been a core activity since the very beginning.


Climate models can be seen as laboratories for digital experiments. Such experiments may involve estimating future climate given changes in CO2 emissions, increasing the temperature by five degrees to see how much it would rain, or exploring how sea ice loss affects currents.


NorESM – Norwegian Earth System Model – is a global model, containing the atmosphere, continents, oceans and ice caps, as well as vegetation and other elements of the carbon cycle.


Through the national infrastructure project INES, the Bjerknes Centre and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute share the main responsibility for developing and running NorESM. The results contribute to IPCC reports, and are applied by scientists around the globe. 


We also develop and use other models:

  • Regional models providing more details of climate in e.g. Norway or Europe.
  • Ice cap models, used to explore ice melt in Greenland or Antarctica.
  • Simpler models used to study specific processes in the ocean, the atmosphere or ecosystems.


At the website Explore the Earth System you can learn about climate models and how scientists use them in their work. 

Mats Bentsen



"The Bjerknes Centre contributes strongly so that Norway can produce climate projections and predictions with the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM). This is an important foundation for the IPCC's climate reports"

Mats Bentsen, coordinator of modelling activities at the Bjerknes Centre

The researchers at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research work with observations, theory and climate models. The research is organised in four thematic groups:

  • Global climate – led by Nele Meckler
  • Polar climate – led by Kerim H. Nisancioglu
  • The Carbon system – led by Are Olsen
  • Climate hazards – led by Stephen Outten