The four MERGE research areas are:
- Model development and scenarios
- Past variations in climate and vegetation
- Vegetation, emissions and particles
- Advanced data and model analysis
The common goal is to increase knowledge about climate, in particular with respect to the atmosphere and the land surface including vegetation and ecosystems. The climate we have today is affected by the interplay between all these elements, which is important in a changing climate. Changes in temperature and precipitation affect land-based ecosystems, and these changes in the ecosystems then in turn affect climate change via bio(geo)physical and bio(geo)chemical feedbacks.
In addition, emissions and other effects from land use and land-use change are part of the anthropogenic effect on the climate. Results of the few climate models that already consider these links show the importance of taking them into account when developing climate scenarios and climate effect studies.
MERGE research and relevance to climate change challenges
The issues addressed within MERGE are of the highest relevance to the society faced with the challenge of the ongoing climate change. Among other things, MERGE highlights how vegetation responds to variations and changes in climate, and how the emissions of biogenic volatile hydrocarbons from vegetation are affected and these in turn affect the amount of particles and cloud formation in the atmosphere. This is an important part of the characterization and quantification of climate change and underpins mitigation and adaptation strategies.
MERGE research questions
- How sensitive is the global climate system to emissions and land use change?
- How does Earth System feedback modify the global, regional and local climate response?
- Can remaining uncertainties on climate sensitivity be further reduced?