The “old” Danish Center for Earth System Science existed for the five year period from December 1997 to November 2002. DCESS-1 was funded with an 8 million dollar grant from the Danish National Research Foundation and consisted of a major branch at the Niels Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics and Geophysics, University of Copenhagen, and a minor branch at the Biological Institute, University of Southern Denmark (Odense). The DCESS director was Professor Gary Shaffer (Copenhagen; physical and biogeochemical oceanography, climate modelling). Professor Donald Canfield (Odense; marine geochemistry, microbial ecology) and Professor J Ray Bates (Copenhagen; dynamical meteorology, climate modelling) acted as associate directors. There were about 20-25 and 6-8 scientists, technicians, administrative personnel and Ph D students in the Copenhagen and Odense branches, respectively. The major DCESS research themes were Climate System Stability, Role of the Ocean in the Climate System and Chemical and Biological Evolution of the Atmosphere and Ocean.
In a lead editorial in Science from June 15, 2001, DCESS was listed among a "...mere handful of U.S. and European institutions (that) offer graduate programs and the kind of interdisciplinary working environments that are essential for the rapid development of ESS (Earth System Science)".
And, indeed, DCESS was a great research and teaching success, as documented by our five-year report and publications therein and as emphasized by an international evaluation panel of DCESS (“first-rate group of researchers”, “cutting edge of earth science”, “pioneering work”, “exceptionally talented and energetic students and post-doctoral fellows” …). Nevertheless, the Danish National Research Foundation decided not to renew DCESS for another five year period. University politics and research funding “wheeling and dealing” brought us to our knees (see the DCESS Chronicle for the complete story).
On May 15, 2003, a “new” Danish Center for Earth System Science was formed as a small, private foundation with the purpose of carrying the flame of Earth System Science research and teaching from the “old” DCESS Copenhagen branch (Information on what became of the Odense branch can be found under www.nordcee.dk). During the last five years or so we have been working mainly on developing the DCESS Earth System Model but have also had occasion to run Ph. D courses in Earth System Science on Bornö Station in Gullmar fjord on the west coast of Sweden