EC-Earth is developed as part of a Europe-wide consortium thus promoting international cooperation and access to knowledge and a wide data base. It further enables fruitful interactions between academic institutions and the European climate impact community
Around 2006, the need for an ESM was recognized by various ECMWF Member States (MS). This effectively initiated the development of EC-Earth.
EC-Earth is a global climate model system based on the idea to use the world-leading weather forecast model of the ECMWF (European Centre of Medium Range Weather Forecast) in its seasonal prediction configuration as the base of climate model. The model system can be used in several configurations including the classical climate model (atmosphere, soil, ocean, sea ice) and Earth System configurations (adding atmospheric chemistry and aerosols, ocean bio-geo-chemistry, dynamic vegetation and a Greenland ice sheet).
The model is developed by the European EC-Earth consortium with SMHI as coordinating partner. The model in its different configurations and resolutions is used for climate change projections, predictions and process studies. EC-Earth 3, the current version, is prepared for the 6th phase of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6).
EC-Earth has become a prominent state-of-the-art model within the European landscape of Earth System Models, as shown by the involvement in many European projects, its significant contribution to CMIP5 and the plans for the ongoing CMIP6.