Solving climate modelling challenges at scale

About the ENES Community

The European Network for Earth System modelling, ENES, was launched in 2001 comprising a network of about 50 groups including public, academic and industrial partners. They agreed to work together and cooperate to discuss strategies to accelerate progress in climate, Earth system modelling and understanding.

The InfraStructure for the European Network for Earth System Modelling (IS-ENES) is the distributed e-infrastructure of models, model data and metadata of the ENES community and it has been funded by European projects starting in 2009 up until 2022, with IS-ENES3 being its current funded program.

ENES activities support the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) coordinated global and regional simulations as well as contribute to the standards for data and metadata required for WCRP’s international repository – the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF). This community is a key player in the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and provides the multi-model climate projections on which EU mitigation and adaptation policies are built. In this respect, the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), as well as the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX), are the most significant examples, since they are of central relevance to IS-ENES3 and WCRP in the IPCC assessments.

The challenge

CMIP is a large community project supported by ENES and ESGF. Its central goal is to advance scientific understanding of the Earth system.

The CMIP6 (the sixth phase of CMIP) scientific focus is the WCRP seven Grand Science Challenges: 

  • Clouds
  • Circulation and Climate Sensitivity
  • Changes in Cryosphere
  • Climate Extremes 
  • Regional Sea-level Rise
  • Water Availability
  • Near-Term Climate Prediction Biogeochemical Cycles and Climate Change

 Experimental design is based on three broad scientific questions (Fig 1):

  • How does the Earth System respond to forcing
  • What are the origins and consequences of systematic model biases?
  • How can we assess future climate changes given climate variability, predictability and uncertainties in scenarios? 

Figure 1 Overview of the CMIP Phase 6 experimental design and organization


The ENES community is facing new challenges as a result of increased model complexity and the availability of emerging computing platforms. Moreover,  new multi-disciplinary audiences need access to the ever-increasing volumes of data for  addressing climate change societal challenges.  

IS-ENES3 tackles these challenges through a distributed e-infrastructure of shared models components, tools and data infrastructures.

In this domain, large-scale global experiments for climate model intercomparison have led to the development of the Earth System Grid Federation, a federated data infrastructure for the management, dissemination, and analysis of model output and observational data, involving several data providers and modelling centres around the globe. 

Figure 2 The ESGF consists of federated data centres across the globe that enables access to the largest archive of climate data world-wide.

CMIP6 in numbers

Currently, CMIP6 has published more than 10M datasets across the ESGF federation with a total of 500M downloads (500M in total so far) from users all over the world.  This level of activity is roughly 10 times greater than that associated with any other experiment published in ESGF.

Usage of the EGI computing resources

A total of 147,013 CPUh have been consumed over a period of six months since the launching of the ENES Data Space in the EGI-ACE project.

Support and Expertise from EGI

The ENES community started collaborating with EGI within the European Open Science Cloud context, and in particular in the EOSC-Hub project, delivering the ECAS (ENES Climate Analytics Service) thematic service which targets analytics needs from the community.

The collaboration has continued via the EGI-ACE project to create the ENES Data Space (Fig 3), which delivers an open, scalable, cloud-enabled data science environment for climate data analysis on top of EOSC compute platform and the ECAS service. It provides both storage and computational capabilities offering a Jupyter notebooks interface for running data manipulation, analysis, visualization, and a data publication service enabling file browsing and data access for scientific datasets.

The ENES Data Space is now available as a service to the EOSC community and available from the EOSC Marketplace

Pilot activities will also exploit HPC resources providing High Performance Data analytics (HPDA) via the Ophidia framework. Container-based solutions will be implemented for better portability of the platform on HPC infrastructures integrating AAI solutions and the EGI DataHub for distributed data access. The ultimate goal of this activity is to provide support for novel paradigms such as HPDA as a Service (HPDAaaS).

Figure 3 The ENES Data Space hosts (open) data from the ESGF federated data archive on compute cloud to support meteorological and industrial researchers in realistic climate model analysis experiments

EGI Services used by ENES Data Space

EGI has signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientific (CNRS) to support the following services with resources provided by TUBITAK:

Resource providers supporting ENES Data Space

EGI has signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientific (CNRS) to support the services with resources provided by TUBITAK.