Scientists and policymakers agree that global environmental change needs to be studied in a more integrated way. This is because the workings of the Earth system involve strong interactions among the atmosphere, ocean and land (including the major role of ecosystems), and because human activities are impinging on these workings to a degree that implies major human consequences.
The Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System project, or AIMES, is a core project of the Future Earth. AIMES develops innovative, interdisciplinary ways to understand the structure, dynamics and evolution of the complex system composed by natural and social worlds in intimate interaction. Key foci are to understand and quantify the consequences and feedbacks of human activities and ecosystems with biogeochemical cycles and the climate system, as well as anticipatory scenario analyses informed by climate science collaborations with paleo-environmental scientists, archaeologists and historians to develop a better understanding of Earth-system changes and human-environment interactions.
AIMES’ steering committee includes representatives of diverse natural and social science communities that interact and collaborate across four integrative themes:
- Process and parameterisation studies (translating specific aspects of Earth-system processes and function to global models);
- Regional-global integration (understanding global Earth-system context to regionally-based analyses);
- Applied Earth-system science (end-to-end research to meet decision makers’ needs for integrated information);
- Integrative Earth-system modeling (development of increasingly complex coupled models of climate, biogeochemical cycles, ecology and human dimensions).