Integrated Activities

We strive to strategically initiate, and support, cross-cutting projects. These projects bring together diverse teams of scientists from across the institute to help answer important questions.  Unlike scientific working groups, which have a more permanent status, and work within one of the institute's two departments, internal projects should bring together people from different departments, and have a limited lifetime.  Currently the institute supports three cross cutting projects, some in cooperation with partner institutes. In addition to the running internal projects listed below, past internal projects are described on the Project Archive page, and projects that are made possible through external funding are listed on the External Projects page.

Grand Ensemble

The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) Grand Ensemble (MPI-GE) is the largest ensemble of a single state-of-the-art comprehensive climate model currently available.

The Grand Ensemble consists of five Large Ensembles of 100 simulations each under different forcing scenarios. This ensemble allows the separation of the forced signal from the model internal variability. It allows us to address questions that could not be answered in the past, such as:

Does internal variability change under different forcing conditions?

The Figure shows many possible realisations of the Earth under multiple scenarios.

Further information: Sebastian Milinski, e-mail: grandensemble@we dont want

Link to the project page >>>


Model strategy Sapphire and Ruby with ICON

The ICON modelling system provides MPI-M with a modern and unified modelling platform. ICON can be configured in various ways to model a broad range of spatio-temporal scales of the climate system. Different scientific questions may require one either to model the climate system at the highest possible grid resolution and for a relatively short time span or to model the climate over a long integration time with a large model ensemble at relatively coarse grid resolution.

Both cases need state-of-the-art high-performance computing and ICON is designed to make optimal use of the modern computing environment. MPI-M employs ICON in the two projects Sapphire and Ruby. Sapphire and Ruby are based on scientific questions and comprise several specifically designed experiments. Project “Ruby” addresses the low frequency behaviour of the climate system (red part of the spectrum) and focuses on long time scales, while the priority of “Sapphire” is the high frequency system behaviour (blue part of the spectrum) and investigates shorter time scales at higher resolutions.


Project Sapphire:

The goal of the project Sapphire will be to pioneer the representation of the coupled climate system at resolutions that explicitly represent convective storms in the tropics and meso-scale ocean eddies in the extratropics. The strategy will be to conduct experiments with the goal being to unify existing approaches for regional large eddy simulations and for strongly parameterized coupled global simulations. Initial experimental targets include global short-period uncoupled (2.5 km resolution) and coupled (5 km resolution) simulations, as well as longer higher-resolution experiments over selected regions, as for instance the tropical Atlantic and Northern Africa. As computer performance increases in the future, the length of global experiments, or the domain size of regional experiments, or the grid resolution can be increased.


Project Ruby:

Project Ruby promotes experiments that include simulations over long time-scales (10 000 years) as well as century-long integrations with very large (100 members) ensembles, and predictions for the coming decades. Ruby will use ICON-ESM configurations that run as efficient as possible and allow the combination of resolution, ensemble size, and simulation length that best fit the scientific objectives. For these purposes the first goal is a model that scales well enough to enable a throughput of 100 years/day at a resolution that represents the large-scale dynamics of the atmosphere and the ocean in a high quality. The scientific and technical effort will focus on performance optimization and on streamlining the representation of aspects of the system that are not crucial to the study at hand. The first milestone of project Ruby is the creation of a series of experiments that includes simulations of the 20th century and idealized climate change scenarios.


Project pages:
ICON-Sapphire (ICON-LEM)

More information
about ICON-ESM contact Dr Marco Giorgetta, Dr Peter Korn or Dr Christian Reick,
about ICON-LEM contact Dr Cathy Hohenegger.



The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) is an international endeavour to better understand past, present and future climate changes. Referring to the Grand Science Challenges of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), CMIP6 aims to answer three broad questions:

(i) How does the Earth system respond to forcing?,

(ii) What are the origins and consequences of systematic model biases?, and

(iii) How can we assess future climate changes given climate variability, predictability and uncertainties in scenarios?

For further information please contact Opens window for sending emailDr. Johann Jungclaus.

Link to the project page >>>