Research Questions of the Earth System Research Partnership
The Partnership has identified a set of questions which guide its research strategy to insure that the resources of the institutes are utilized in an optimal way for furthering our understandig of the Earth system:
1) How is the Earth system organised?
- Systems analysis of our global environment
- Feedbacks and teleconnections
- Bifurcations, non-linear behaviour, abrupt changes, critical thresholds
- Biosphere-climate interactions
- The role of biodiversity
- Fluxes of energy, matter and information in the Earth system
- Short- and long-term interactions between the solid Earth, the ocean and the atmosphere
2) Which processes regulate the distribution and availability of water?
- Interactions between aerosols, clouds and the water cycle
- Climate and the water cycle in future scenarios
3) Which paths lead to useful models of the Earth system?
- Theoretical foundations for new model approaches
- A spectrum of models of varying complexity
- Modular structures in Earth system models
4) How can Earth system models and their components be evaluated?
- Observational strategies, especially involving long-term observations
- Data assimilation
5) Which regions and components are particularly sensitive to global change?
- What role do the tropics play in the Earth system?
- The role of the rapid socio-economic development in the tropical regions (megacities)
- How stable are the boreal and arctic zones?
- The oxidation capacity of the atmosphere
- Atmospheric circulation dynamics, monsoons and the hydrological cycle
- The thermohaline circulation and deep water formation in the North Atlantic
- The opening and closing of ocean passages.