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Definition of the domain

Climate modeling is to replicate more or less simplified the coupled behavior of the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces at various spatial scales (from region to globe scales) or time (from season to century scales or more) . A useful tool for understanding the complexity of climatic phenomena is to numerically simulate the evolution coupled various components of the Earth system, after translating the physical principles governing the form of mathematical equations. CERFACS brings many strengths to meet this challenge by continuously improving the quality of these couplings, on more and more powerful computers , and analyzing in depth the results of many simulations it performs.

Challenges, issues and context

The intrinsic climate variability, from monthly to decadal scales, overlaps the global warming resulting from human activities. Detection of climate change and their allocation to various causes is a scientific problem that requires combining Earth observation, modeling of coupled and complex physical phenomena and scientific computing.

Cerfacs actively contributes to the IPCC exercises (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) which regularly publishes a detailed report on the present climate and its projection throughout the century. Advances in climate modeling, in particular through the intensification of Earth observation and increasing computer power, reduce uncertainties in climate projections.

OCCIPUT Project : Sea Surface Temperature

OCCIPUT Project : Sea Surface Temperature

Research axes at CERFACS

Research areas conducted in CERFACS through climate modeling are:

  • Climate variability on seasonal to decadal scales
  • Predictability and decadal forecasts
  • Anthropogenic disturbance and impacts

Tools developed or used


Climate Partners

Climate Partners



Continuity of activity of the Cerfacs during the Covid-19 pandemic

superadmin |  20 March 2020

On Monday 16 March 2020, in the context of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 epidemic, Cerfacs decided to reorganize its activities by implementing a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and deploying teleworking facilities for all its employees. All staff members thus continue to carry out their full mission.Read more

A fiery wakeup call for climate science

superadmin |  26 February 2020

The extent of the recent wildfires in Australia significantly exceeded the projections of any member of the multi-model CMIP archive.  This highlights how current multi-model ensembles may be under-representing the risks of natural disasters under climate change.  Limited coupled system process representation in most models coupled with a lack of parameter uncertainty exploration means that some risks are not explored by the existing international multi-model framework.  This calls for a reassessment of how to focus climate model development on providing robust risk quantification for those impacts which most directly affect society. Sanderson, B.M., Fisher, R.A. A fiery wake-up call for climate science. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2020) nature.com Media coverage BBC Sydney Morning Herald The Guardian Wired The Daily Express YahooRead more