C4MIP – The Coupled Climate–Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project: experimental protocol for CMIP6
Coordinated experimental design and implementation has become a cornerstone of global climate modelling. Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) enable systematic and robust analysis of results across many models, by reducing the influence of ad hoc differences in model set-up or experimental boundary conditions. As it enters its 6th phase, the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) has grown significantly in scope with the design and documentation of individual simulations delegated to individual climate science communities.
The Coupled Climate–Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project (C4MIP) takes responsibility for design, documentation, and analysis of carbon cycle feedbacks and interactions in climate simulations. These feedbacks are potentially large and play a leading-order contribution in determining the atmospheric composition in response to human emissions of CO 2 and in the setting of emissions targets to stabilize climate or avoid dangerous climate change. For over a decade, C4MIP has coordinated coupled climate–carbon cycle simulations, and in this paper we describe the C4MIP simulations that will be formally part of CMIP6. While the climate–carbon cycle community has created this experimental design, the simulations also fit within the wider CMIP activity, conform to some common standards including documentation and diagnostic requests, and are designed to complement the CMIP core experiments known as the Diagnostic, Evaluation and Characterization of Klima (DECK).
C4MIP has three key strands of scientific motivation and the requested simulations are designed to satisfy their needs: (1) pre-industrial and historical simulations (formally part of the common set of CMIP6 experiments) to enable model evaluation, (2) idealized coupled and partially coupled simulations with 1 % per year increases in CO 2 to enable diagnosis of feedback strength and its components, (3) future scenario simulations to project how the Earth system will respond to anthropogenic activity over the 21st century and beyond.
This paper documents in detail these simulations, explains their rationale and planned analysis, and describes how to set up and run the simulations. Particular attention is paid to boundary conditions, input data, and requested output diagnostics. It is important that modelling groups participating in C4MIP adhere as closely as possible to this experimental design.