The Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) project follows the Global Analysis and Integration of Modeling (GAIM) Task Force of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). Together these projects provided leadership for the evolution of climate models into Global Earth System Models. GAIM was developed in 1993 to advance the development of coupled dynamics of the Earth System using both observational data and numerical models. At the time, the carbon cycle had yet to be resolved as a coupled component in global circulation models, and GAIM led critical activities to successfully address this gap. Initially, GAIM helped coordinate the development of sub-components of the carbon cycle: Potsdam Net Primary Productivity Project (PIK-NPP), Ocean Carbon Model Intercomparison Project (OCMIP) and the Atmosphere Tracer Transport Model intercomparison (TRANSCOM). In a second phase, GAIM addressed broader Earth system questions via two new initiatives: the ‘Coupled Climate Model Intercomparison Project (C4MIP) and ‘Earth System models of Intermediate Complexity’. C4MIP, a GAIM collaboration with the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP) Working Group on Coupled Modeling (WGCM), took the step of coupling the various subsystems of the carbon cycle to global circulation models and developed a method of model intercomparison to quantify carbon pools and fluxes and associated uncertainties within and between different models and datasets. EMIC were developed to address paleo-scale questions about the carbon cycle through the simplified formulations of the earth system components.
GAIM evolved into AIMES in 2005 reflecting a broader initiative to integrate human interactions with biogeophysical Earth-system analyses, while maintaining strong activities in biogeochemistry-climate linkages. AIMES continued to provide leadership in the development and evaluation of ocean and land carbon cycle components in earth system models through the initiation of MAREMIP and iLAMB. AIMES led an important workshop held at the Aspen Global Change Institute to develop an experimental design for new emissions scenarios, which brought together an interdisciplinary team of scientists with expertise in integrated assessment modeling, climate modeling, terrestrial ecosystem modeling and emission inventory. This collaboration laid the foundation for the development of the ‘Representative Carbon Pathways’ (RCP) scenarios. The timeliness of these activities led to the inclusion of coupled carbon-climate model outputs for the first time in IPCC’s AR5 report.
AIMES activities included a broader remit to incorporate longer timescales and social sciences. This intention was most strongly manifested in the development of ‘Integrated History and future of People on Earth’ (iHOPE) to test the long term evolution of human and environmental systems using archaeological, paleoenvironmental, anthropological and historical data.
Also in an effort to provide an integrative platform for the natural and social sciences, AIMES led capacity building workshops through the Young Scholars Network. Through this activity, five workshops brought together early career scholars across the physical, biological, social sciences and the humanities to address cross-cutting themes related to understanding the influential role of humans in the climate and biogeochemical system.
With the completion of IGBP, AIMES became a global research project of Future Earth in 2015. A full summary of AIMES’ activities leading up to 2015 can be found here.