A comprehensive view on climate change: coupling of Earth system and integrated assessment models

D.P. van Vuuren, L. Batlle Bayer, C. Chuwah, L.N. Ganzeveld, W. Hazeleger, B. van den Hurk, T. van Noije, B. O'Neill, B.J. Strengers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


There are several reasons to strengthen the cooperation between the integrated assessment (IA) and earth system (ES) modeling teams in order to better understand the joint development of environmental and human systems. This cooperation can take many different forms, ranging from information exchange between research communities to fully coupled modeling approaches. Here, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and try to establish some guidelines for their applicability, based mainly on the type of interaction between the model components (including the role of feedback), possibilities for simplification and the importance of uncertainty. We also discuss several important areas of joint IA–ES research, such as land use/land cover dynamics and the interaction between climate change and air pollution, and indicate the type of collaboration that seems to be most appropriate in each case. We find that full coupling of IA–ES models might not always be the most desirable form of cooperation, since in some cases the direct feedbacks between IA and ES may be too weak or subject to considerable process or scenario uncertainty. However, when local processes are important, it could be important to consider full integration. By encouraging cooperation between the IA and ES communities in the future more consistent insights can be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number024012
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • carbon-cycle models
  • land-cover change
  • environmental-change
  • atmosphere-ocean
  • simpler model
  • scenarios
  • emissions
  • impact
  • feedbacks
  • dynamics

Cite this