The Bristol Research Initiative for the Dynamic Global Environment (BRIDGE) was set up in 2003 with the aim of improving the understanding of natural climate and environmental variability, to use this knowledge to predict future changes more accurately and assess its impact on all aspects of human society. BRIDGE provides information to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and ultimately feeds into the government policy considerations.

The research focusses on the emerging area of 'Earth System Science', which looks at the complex interactions between all the Earth's components: the oceans; atmosphere; ice sheets; biosphere; as well as the influence of human activity on global change.