CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

Key Earth System Processes to understand Arctic Climate Warming and Northern Latitude Hydrological Cycle Changes

The objective of the KeyCLIM project is to develop The Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) to assess performance, develop and evaluate physical processes in the modell. A special effort is addressed to the near and long term future climate for the Artic, northern latitudes and Norway. Open data from the project will be provided to the climate mitigation and climate impact community.

About the project

A 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 understanding of the possible future climate evolution in the North latitudes. 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.

In KeyCLIM the research community seeks to improve the Earth System model NorESM understanding on three levels:

to analyze bias and deficiencies, engaging into complementary analysis of the CMIP6 model experiment archive and re-analysis data, from this to recommend on model development needs; to study those key Earth System processes in the key region which are important for the northern climate evolution, improving NorESM where needed; 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 an 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.


The overall primary objective of the project is to use a nationally coordinated Earth system approach to understand, quantify and reduce uncertainty in projected northern latitude climate change and in particular Arctic warming.

The KeyCLIM project will make considerable use of the Norwegian Infrastructure for Earth System modelling (INES), other related projects and research environments.


The KeyCLIM project is financed by Research Council of Norway through the KLIMAFORSK/POLARFORSK programme. Project number is 295046, with project period from 2019 to 2023.

The project owner is Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET), with Project leader: Michael Schulz (MET) and Co-Project leader: Mats Bentsen (NORCE)


The KeyCLIM project is a collaboration between researchers from several Norwegian research institutions.

Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET)

  • Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC)
  • University of Bergen (UiB)
  • University of Oslo (UiO)
  • CICERO Center for Climate Research (CICERO)
  • Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)