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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



NextSim General Assembly and TC meeting

CERFACS |  16 September 2021

The General Assembly and TC Meeting took place on 15-16 September 2021. CERFACS is involved in the NextSim project (). The primary objective is to increase the capabilities of Computational Fluid Dynamics tools on extreme-scale parallel computing platforms for aeronautical design. This project has received funding from the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement N° 956104. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Spain, France, Germany. This project has received funding from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) under grant agreement N° ANR-20-EHPC-0002-02. For more information, please visit Read more

Sophie Valcke from Cerfacs co-authored a new book on atmosphere-ocean modelling

CERFACS |  18 August 2021

new book "Atmosphere-Ocean Modelling - Couling and Couplers” by Prof. Carlos R Mechoso, Prof. Soon-Il An and Dr Sophie Valcke has just been published by World Scientific. The present book fills a void in the current literature by presenting a basic and yet rigorous treatment of how the models of the atmosphere and the ocean are put together into a coupled system. Details are available at  Abstract: Coupled atmosphere-ocean models are at the core of numerical climate models. There is an extraordinarily broad class of coupled atmosphere-ocean models ranging from sets of equations that can be solved analytically to highly detailed representations of Nature requiring the most advanced computers for execution. The models are applied to subjects including the conceptual understanding of Earth’s climate, predictions that support human activities in a variable climate, and projections aimed to prepare society for climate change. The present book fills a void in the current literature by presenting a basic and yet rigorous treatment of how the models of the atmosphere and the ocean are put together into a coupled system. The text of the book is divided into chapters organized according to complexity of the components that are coupled. Two full chapters are dedicated to current efforts on the development of generalist couplers and coupling methodologies all over the worldRead more