computer resources devoted to the highest end of modeling, and a lack of an integrated national strategy for high-end modeling efforts. It further concluded that (1) the United States lags behind other nations in its ability to model long-term climate; (2) it is inappropriate for the United States to depend on other countries to provide high-end climate modeling capabilities; and (3) this dependence should be redressed by improving the capabilities within the United States. Finally, it concluded that “to facilitate future climate assessments, climate treaty negotiations, and our understanding and predictions of climate, it is appropriate to develop now a national climate modeling strategy that includes the provision of adequate computational and human resources and is integrated across agencies.”

This present study focuses on the challenges posed in the 1998 report (NRC, 1998a) as specified in the statement of task given to the panel ( Box 1-1).

To address these tasks, the Panel on Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling met three times and held a one-day workshop

Box 1-1

Statement of Task

The purpose of this study is to provide relevant federal agencies and the scientific community with an assessment of the nation's technical modeling needs and a vision of how government, interacting with the rest of the scientific community, can optimize the use of modeling talents in the United States. This study will thus address the challenges posed in the Climate Research Committee's 1998 report, Capacity of U.S. Climate Modeling to Support Climate Change Assessment Activities. In pursuit of these objectives, the panel will produce a report that:

  1. Examines the major types of climate modeling, paying particular attention to both the similarities (e.g., potential synergisms) and unique characteristics of each. Specific issues to be addressed include: model construction and testing, data input and archival, ensemble simulation, interrogation and diagnostics, evaluation, and operational utilization.

  2. Describes the computational and human resources required to effectively conduct climate modeling in the United States to meet the needs of the climate applications, policy, and scientific communities. This evaluation will include consideration of shifts in computational architectures and potential for and cost of improvements in model codes. It will also consider the utilization of common climate modeling tools, protocols, and data, and the availability of cooperative opportunities between different scales of modeling effort and institutions.

  3. Quantitatively assesses the computational and human resources that are presently directed toward climate modeling in the United States.

  4. Describes ways in which the efficacy of the U.S. climate modeling enterprise might be improved, given the current needs and resources. The report will define a set of issues that are fundamental to the enhancement and sustenance of climate modeling in the United States.



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