Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling

Panel on Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling Panel on Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. 50-DKNA-6-90040 between the National Academies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Grant No. ATM-9814235 between the National Academies and the National Science Foundation. Additional support for this study was provided by the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations, agencies, or subagencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number: 0309-07257-3 Library of Congress Control Number: 2001088954 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. , Lockbox 285 , Washington, D.C. 20055 ; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling PANEL ON IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF U.S. CLIMATE MODELING EDWARD S. SARACHIK (Chair), University of Washington, Seattle LENNART BENGTSSON, Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany MAURICE L. BLACKMON, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado MARGARET A. LEMONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ROBERT C. MALONE, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico MATTHEW T. O'KEEFE, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis RICHARD B. ROOD, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland STEPHEN E. ZEBIAK, International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, Palisades, New York STAFF VAUGHAN C. TUREKIAN, Study Director ALEXANDRA R. ISERN, Program Officer CARTER W. FORD, Project Assistant

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling CLIMATE RESEARCH COMMITTEE EUGENE M. RASMUSSON (Chair), University of Maryland, College Park EDWARD S. SARACHIK (Vice-Chair), University of Washington, Seattle MAURICE L. BLACKMON, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado STANLEY A. CHANGNON, Midwestern Climate Center, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign DIAN J. GAFFEN, NOAA/Air Resources Laboratory, Silver Spring, Maryland RICHARD E. HALLGREN, American Meteorological Society, Washington, D.C. JAMES E. HANSEN, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York DOUGLAS G. MARTINSON, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York RAYMOND NAJJAR, Pennsylvania State University, University Park STEVEN W. RUNNING, University of Montana, Missoula LYNNE D. TALLEY, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California ANNE M. THOMPSON, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland ANDREW J. WEAVER, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada ERIC WOOD, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey STAFF PETER A. SCHULTZ, Senior Program Officer CARTER W. FORD, Project Assistant

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ERIC J. BARRON (Chair), Pennsylvania State University, University Park SUSAN K. AVERY, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder HOWARD B. BLUESTEIN, University of Oklahoma, Norman STEVEN F. CLIFFORD, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado GEORGE L. FREDERICK, Radian Electronic Systems, Austin, Texas MARVIN A. GELLER, State University of New York, Stony Brook CHARLES E. KOLB, Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts JUDITH L. LEAN, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. ROGER A. PIELKE, JR., National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado MICHAEL J. PRATHER, University of California, Irvine ROBERT T. RYAN, WRC-TV, Washington, D.C. MARK R. SCHOEBERL, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland JOANNE SIMPSON, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland THOMAS F. TASCIONE, Sterling Software, Inc., Bellevue, Nebraska ROBERT A. WELLER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, New Jersey EX OFFICIO MEMBERS DONALD S. BURKE, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland DARA ENTEKHABI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MICHAEL C. KELLEY, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York MARIO MOLINA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge JOHN O. ROADS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California EUGENE M. RASMUSSON, University of Maryland, College Park EDWARD S. SARACHIK, University of Washington, Seattle STAFF ELBERT W. (JOE) FRIDAY, JR., Director LAURIE S. GELLER, Program Officer ALEXANDRA R. ISERN, Program Officer PETER A. SCHULTZ, Senior Program Officer VAUGHAN C. TUREKIAN, Program Officer DIANE L. GUSTAFSON, Administrative Assistant ROBIN MORRIS, Financial Associate TENECIA A. BROWN, Project Assistant CARTER W. FORD, Project Assistant

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER (Chair), University of Virginia, Charlottesville RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (Retired), S. Charleston, West Virginia LYNN GOLDMAN, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut THOMAS J. GRAFF, Environmental Defense, Oakland, California EUGENIA KALNAY, University of Maryland, College Park DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. BRAD MOONEY, J. Brad Mooney Associates, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia HUGH C. MORRIS, El Dorado Gold Corporation, Vancouver, British Columbia H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens MILTON RUSSELL, Joint Institute for Energy and Environment and University of Tennessee (Emeritus), Knoxville ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park STAFF ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Associate Executive Director CHRISTINE HENDERSON, Reports Officer JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative and Financial Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling Preface Information derived from climate modeling has become increasingly important in recent years. Seasonal-to-interannual forecasts of the global aspects of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) have been made and have proven valuable in both public and private applications. Patterns of global climate, especially the North American/Arctic Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, have been shown to strongly affect regional climate, raising questions about the mechanisms and the predictability of these patterns. Long-term climate change and the response of the climate to the anthropogenic emissions of radiatively active gases and constituents have been intensively studied over the last thirty years, with the results being scrutinized to evaluate possible mitigation and adaptation. Regional assessments of climate variability and change have begun and this has led to an increasing awareness of the intricate interactions of the physical climate, ecological systems, and human institutions. More and more we understand that climate variability and change impacts society and that dealing with climate-related disasters, conflicts, and opportunities requires the best possible information about the past, present, and future of the climate system. It is in this context that the National Research Council (NRC) report Capacity of U.S. Climate Modeling to Support Climate Change Assessment Activities (NRC, 1998a) pointed out that the United States now lags behind other nations in its ability to model the climate. At a time of in-

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling creased need came a message of decreased capacity. This present report is a response, a first response, to that report. To address the issues involved in improving this situation, the NRC empanelled the authors of this report and charged them with examining the computer and human resource issues involved in assessing U.S. climate modeling needs, especially at the high-end of modeling. The panel itself represented a wide range of expertise in climate and climate modeling, but to supplement its expertise a survey was conducted to gain an appreciation of the magnitude of the issues and to elicit opinions from the modeling community about our present plight and possible solutions. A general meeting of modelers was held at the National Academies on August 21, 2000, to further hear the concerns of the climate modeling community. Considering all these sources of input, the panel deliberated its recommendations and produced this report. The panel recognizes that one of the most important inadequacies of this report is its inability to place climate modeling fully in the context of the panoply of issues arising from the interaction of physical climate, ecosystems, and human institutions The problem is just too big, as was illustrated in a previous NRC report (NRC, 1999a—‘Pathways'). The panel hopes that this broader context will be recognized and will continue to be addressed in the future. The discussion of computer architectures reflects the updated information available during panel deliberations and report preparation. Because the field of computer technology is fluid and rapidly evolving, upgrades in computing systems, such as NCEP's recent acquisition of an IBM Power-3 Winterhawk-II, which occurred after the preparation of the report, are not reflected in the report's summary data on computer performance (e.g., Table 3-1). The panel does not believe that such upgrades would change its overall findings or recommendations. The panel would like to acknowledge the dedicated industry of Dr. Alexandra Isern, Dr. Vaughan Turekian, and Mr. Carter Ford, without whom the production of this report would have been impossible. E. S. Sarachik Chair

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling Acknowledgments The panel greatly appreciates the efforts of all of the survey respondents whose input was critical for the completion of this report. Roberta Miller is greatly acknowledged for her comments and corrections on the surveys prior to their distribution. In addition, the panel would like to thank all of those who participated in the workshop and provided input to the discussions at this meeting. Bob Atlas is acknowledged for providing helpful contributions to this report and Tom Bettge for providing us with a figure. The panel would also like to acknowledge useful discussions with Andy White, Rod Oldehoeft, Tom Ackerman, Chris Davis, Dennis Joseph, Chin-Hoh Moeng, David Parsons, Chris Snyder, Wojtek Grabowski, Xiaoqing Wu, Jim Hoke, Bill McCracken, and Bruce Webster. The authoring group would like to thank all of those who participated in the review and provided input to the discussions at the August 21-23, 2000, workshop. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling ERIC BARRON, Pennsylvania State University, University Park ALAN BETTS, Atmospheric Research, Pittsford, Vermont DAVID DENT, European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom INEZ FUNG, University of California, Berkeley ANTHONY HOLLINGSWORTH, European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, Redding, United Kingdom JERRY MAHLMAN, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey DANIEL SAREWITZ, Columbia University, New York, New York Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland, College Park, appointed by the Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, and Alexander Flax, Potomac, Maryland, appointed by the NRC's Report Review Committee, who were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1  1.   QUESTIONING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF U.S. CLIMATE MODELING   9  2.   CLIMATE MODELS, OBSERVATIONS, AND COMPUTER ARCHITECTURES   13     2.1  Model Construction,   13     2.2  Observations and Climate Models,   15     2.3  Purposes of Climate Modeling,   19     2.4  Computer Architectures in Support of Climate Modeling,   20  3.   STATE OF U.S. CLIMATE MODELING   29     3.1  Models,   29     3.2  Computing,   31     3.3  Human Resources,   40     3.4  The Higher-End Centers,   40     3.5  Organizational Background,   41     3.6  Summary of High-End Capabilities in the United States,   42  4.   INCREASED SOCIETAL DEMANDS ON U.S. MODELING   43     4.1  Ozone Assessments,   43     4.2  IPCC,   44     4.3  U.S. National Assessment,   45     4.4  Seasonal-to-Interannual Forecasting,   48     4.5  Decadal and Longer Variability,   49

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Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling  5.   RESPONDING TO CLIMATE MODELING REQUIRMENTS   51     5.1  Computational Resources Required,   51     5.2  Will Massively Parallel Architectures Satisfy Our Needs?,   55     5.3  The Need for Centralized Facilities and Operations,   58     5.4  Fostering Cooperation With a Common Modeling Infrastructure,   58     5.5  Human Resources,   62     5.6  Need for Climate Services and Management Issues,   63     5.7  Rewarding the Transition Within the Research Community,   65     5.8  Providing the Best Possible Service to an Informed Public,   66     5.9  Summary,   68  6.   IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF U.S. CLIMATE MODELING   69  7.   A VISION FOR THE FUTURE   75     7.1  Climate Research and Climate Operations,   76     7.2  Mutual Interactions and Mutual Benefits Between Climate Research and Climate Operations,   76     7.3  From Vision to Reality,   80  8.   REFERENCES   81     APPENDIXES       A  STEERING COMMITTEE AND STAFF BIOGRAPHIES   87     B  CAPACITY OF U.S. CLIMATE MODELING TO SUPPORT CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES   90     C  QUESTIONNAIRE SENT TO LARGE AND INTERMEDIATE MODELING CENTERS   95     D  QUESTIONNAIRE SENT TO SMALL MODELING CENTERS   100     E  CLIMATE MODELING SURVEY: SUMMARY RESPONSES   105     F  WORKSHOP AGENDA   113     G  WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS   115     H  SUMMARY OF OTHER RELEVANT REPORTS   117     I  DESCRIPTION OF DIFFERENT CODES   121     J  ACRONYMS   125