Earth system modeling with endogenous and dynamic human societies: the copan:CORE open World–Earth modeling framework


Analysis of Earth system dynamics in the Anthropocene requires to explicitly take into account the increasing magnitude of processes operating in human societies, their cultures, economies and technosphere and their growing feedback entanglement with those in the physical, chemical and biological systems of the planet. However, current state-of-the-art Earth System Models do not represent dynamic human societies and their feedback interactions with the biogeophysical Earth system and macroeconomic Integrated Assessment Models typically do so only with limited scope. This paper (i) proposes design principles for constructing World-Earth Models (WEM) for Earth system analysis of the Anthropocene, i.e., models of social (World) - ecological (Earth) co-evolution on up to planetary scales, and (ii) presents the copan:CORE open simulation modeling framework for developing, composing and analyzing such WEMs based on the proposed principles. The framework provides a modular structure to flexibly construct and study WEMs. These can contain biophysical (e.g. carbon cycle dynamics), socio-metabolic/economic (e.g. economic growth) and socio-cultural processes (e.g. voting on climate policies or changing social norms) and their feedback interactions, and are based on elementary entity types, e.g., grid cells and social systems. Thereby, copan:CORE enables the epistemic flexibility needed for contributions towards Earth system analysis of the Anthropocene given the large diversity of competing theories and methodologies used for describing socio-metabolic/economic and socio-cultural processes in the Earth system by various fields and schools of thought. To illustrate the capabilities of the framework, we present an exemplary and highly stylized WEM implemented in copan:CORE that illustrates how endogenizing socio-cultural processes and feedbacks could fundamentally change macroscopic model outcomes.

Earth System Dynamics