Human-Earth System Models
Integrated study on the ways people interact with each other, with technology, and with the environment
JGCRI has been a world leader in integrated assessment (IA) modeling since the inception of the field more than 30 years ago. It houses one of the world’s premier integrated assessment models – the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM). JGCRI researchers also participate in the development and use of a range of related human and Earth system models. And JGCRI is a leader in collaborative research linking models of varying regional, temporal, and spatial scales to simulate the complex interactions among energy-water-land-socioeconomic-climate systems and to gain greater insight on key factors contributing to functioning of these systems and changes in them. JGCRI research on integrated human-Earth system modeling aims to build on this foundation to help lead the global community in developing the next generation of human-Earth system models that realistically represent the complexity of these systems and yield reliable scientific information to increase understanding and inform decision-making.
IA modeling tools have played a critical role over the last two decades in improving understanding of how human actions in energy, land, and economic systems interact with one another and affect and/or affected by the global environment. As modeling tools, computation capabilities, and the science of human-Earth system research have advanced, the questions that science researchers and decision makers are asking have also evolved in scope and complexity. Therefore, integrated assessment modeling is now poised to explore a range of scientific questions that go well beyond those of the previous decades.
Scientists and decision-makers are in need of scientific information about both human impacts on the environment and the influence of the environment on energy, water, land, and economic systems. The next generation of IA modeling tools must attempt to close the loop – understanding these two-way interactions between human and Earth system. In addition, as the influence of IA modeling activities increases, there is also increasing improve the skill of IA modeling tools, improve substantially our ability to characterize uncertainty, and provide results on a time frame, spatial scale and in formats that are useful to scientists and decision makers. Modeling capabilities at JGCRI include the following:
Global Change Analysis Model
The Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM) is a partial equilibrium model of the world with 32 regions. GCAM operates in 5 year time steps from 1990 to 2100 and is designed to examine long-term changes in the coupled energy, agriculture/land-use, water and climate systems. GCAM includes 235 water basins, a 384-region agriculture land-use module and a reduced form carbon cycle and climate module (Hector) in addition to its incorporation of demographics, resources, energy production and consumption. The model has been used extensively in a number of assessment and modeling activities such as the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF), the U.S. Climate Change Technology Program, and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and IPCC assessment reports. GCAM is now freely available as a community model (see GCAM Community).
For detailed information see the GCAM Online Documentation, which includes a guide on “How to Get Started Running GCAM”. Copies of GCAM tutorial presentations from the annual GCAM meeting are available on the GCAM Community page. Questions about the model can be posted on the Issues section of the GCAM GitHub site.
GCAM is available as open source software and is now hosted on GitHub.
Hector is an open source, object-oriented, simple global climate carbon-cycle model. It runs essentially instantaneously while still representing the most critical global scale earth system processes, and is one of a class of models heavily used for for emulating complex climate models and uncertainty analyses.
HectorUI is an interactive global simple climate model based on Hector.