Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 11, pp 2611-2629

First online:

EC-Earth V2.2: description and validation of a new seamless earth system prediction model

  • W. HazelegerAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)Wageningen University (WU) Email author 
  • , X. WangAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
  • , C. SeverijnsAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
  • , S. ŞtefănescuAffiliated withEuropean Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)
  • , R. BintanjaAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
  • , A. SterlAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
  • , K. WyserAffiliated withSwedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI)
  • , T. SemmlerAffiliated withIrish Meteorological Institute (MetEireann)
  • , S. YangAffiliated withDanish Meteorological Institute (DMI)
    • , B. van den HurkAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
    • , T. van NoijeAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
    • , E. van der LindenAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
    • , K. van der WielAffiliated withWageningen University (WU)

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EC-Earth, a new Earth system model based on the operational seasonal forecast system of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), is presented. The performance of version 2.2 (V2.2) of the model is compared to observations, reanalysis data and other coupled atmosphere–ocean-sea ice models. The large-scale physical characteristics of the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice are well simulated. When compared to other coupled models with similar complexity, the model performs well in simulating tropospheric fields and dynamic variables, and performs less in simulating surface temperature and fluxes. The surface temperatures are too cold, with the exception of the Southern Ocean region and parts of the Northern Hemisphere extratropics. The main patterns of interannual climate variability are well represented. Experiments with enhanced CO2 concentrations show well-known responses of Arctic amplification, land-sea contrasts, tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. The global climate sensitivity of the current version of EC-Earth is slightly less than 1 K/(W m−2). An intensification of the hydrological cycle is found and strong regional changes in precipitation, affecting monsoon characteristics. The results show that a coupled model based on an operational seasonal prediction system can be used for climate studies, supporting emerging seamless prediction strategies.