Summary

The 2004 Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate summer workshop was designed to explore challenges in representing physical processes in coupled atmosphere-land-ocean models. Participants discussed both the science of model parameterizations, including several key processes for which they believe improvement is necessary, and broader issues termed “cultural” because they are thought to be entrenched in the customs and structure of the atmospheric, climate, and oceanographic communities.

Many workshop participants agreed that progress in model development is being impeded, and they identified several likely contributors to this situation, many of them cultural:

  • Widely available, easily run models and the current funding and academic environments may be turning both graduate students and their faculty advisors toward fast-turnaround research in numerical simulation and away from the traditional but much slower path of theory and observation.

  • Bright young scholars best suited to tackling scientific problems may incorrectly perceive that the atmospheric and oceanic sciences are an applied field whose goal is merely to improve weather and climate forecasts.



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Improving the Scientific Foundation for Atmosphere-Land-Ocean Simulations: Report of A Workshop Summary The 2004 Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate summer workshop was designed to explore challenges in representing physical processes in coupled atmosphere-land-ocean models. Participants discussed both the science of model parameterizations, including several key processes for which they believe improvement is necessary, and broader issues termed “cultural” because they are thought to be entrenched in the customs and structure of the atmospheric, climate, and oceanographic communities. Many workshop participants agreed that progress in model development is being impeded, and they identified several likely contributors to this situation, many of them cultural: Widely available, easily run models and the current funding and academic environments may be turning both graduate students and their faculty advisors toward fast-turnaround research in numerical simulation and away from the traditional but much slower path of theory and observation. Bright young scholars best suited to tackling scientific problems may incorrectly perceive that the atmospheric and oceanic sciences are an applied field whose goal is merely to improve weather and climate forecasts.

OCR for page 1
Improving the Scientific Foundation for Atmosphere-Land-Ocean Simulations: Report of A Workshop Progress in parameterization, which often requires interactions across traditional disciplinary boundaries, could now be inhibited by the compartmentalization of educational, research, and funding institutions. The rigidity of long-existing models and the lack of efforts to remove inferior or flawed physical representations hinder progress by preventing opportunities for new, fresh thinking. Because the development of parameterizations for use in numerical models has become a fundamental part of the atmospheric sciences, climate, and oceanography, these trends could cloud the future of the fields. As such, many workshop participants believe there is a need to recognize, accommodate, and foster model parameterization science to ensure continued progress in model development.