POEM 1.0 - Potsdam Earth Model

The next generation Earth-system model at PIK

Integration of in-house models (Aeolus, LPJmL, +C, PISM+PICO) into a fast, comprehensive Earth-system model (3D graphics by Boris Sakschewski)

Contact: Georg Feulner


The CLIMBER (CLIMate and BiosphERe) models are a family of Earth-system models of intermediate complexity (EMICs) developed at PIK (CLIMBER-2, CLIMBER-3α, CLIMBER-X). EMICs attempt to overcome the gap between simple and comprehensive models by using a lower spatial resolution than general circulation models and simplified governing equations, yet describing the relevant processes and feedbacks in the climate system. EMICs are computationally less expensive, which makes them ideal tools for studies of long-term anthropogenic climate change, paleoclimate, and uncertainty analysis based on large model ensembles.

To bridge the gap between traditional EMICs and the current generation of comprehensive models, a new Earth-system model called the Potsdam Earth Model (POEM) is developed. It features a state-of-the-art ocean general circulation model, a higher-resolution statistical-dynamical atmosphere with improved dynamics as well as the state-of-the-art models LPJmL for the land biosphere and PISM for ice-sheets. Except for its unique fast atmosphere module, the new Earth-system model is thus comparable in complexity to the latest generation of climate models.


Model components


A novel pseudo-spectral moist-convective Thermal Rotating Shallow Water (mcTRSW) model called Aeolus2 is developed in house.
Previously, a statistical-dynamical atmosphere model (called Aeolus 1.0) with improved dynamics and higher resolution has been developed at PIK for POEM. Alternatively, GFDL's atmosphere models AM2 / AM4 can be used.


The ocean module is based on the general circulation model MOM5 or MOM6, the latest version of the Modular Ocean Model developed at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL)

Ice sheets

For specific scientific questions, we are coupling the ice-sheet model PISM for Greenland and Antarctica into POEM.

Land surface and vegetation

An improved land-surface model specifically designed for coupling with the dynamic vegetation model LPJmL has been developed.


GFDL's Flexible Modelling System (FMS) is used to couple all Earth-system model components.


Please have a look at the POEM Brochure: The Potsdam Earth Model POEM

Team members and responsibilities