A NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR

ADVANCING

CLIMATE MODELING

Committee on a National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling

Board on Atmospheric Studies and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page R1
A NAT I ONA L S T R AT E G Y FOR ADVANCING CLIMATE MODELING Committee on a National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling Board on Atmospheric Studies and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies

OCR for page R1
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS  •  500 Fifth Street, NW  •  Washington, DC 20001 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 compe- tences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under con- tract DG133R-08-CO-0062 Task Order #12, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract NNX08AB07G, the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ATM-0809051, the Department of Energy under contract DE-SC0005113, and the U.S. intelligence community. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agency or any of its subagencies. International Standard Book Number-13:  978-0-309-25977-4 International Standard Book Number-10:  0-309-25977-0 Library of Congress Control Number:  2912954954 Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http:// www.nap.edu/ . Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

OCR for page R1
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distin- guished 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. Ralph J. Cicerone is presi- dent 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 autono- mous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Acad- emy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, en- courages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to se- cure 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 educa- tion. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg 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 com- munities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
COMMITTEE ON A NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR ADVANCING CLIMATE MODELING CHRIS BRETHERTON (Chair), University of Washington, Seattle V. BALAJI, Princeton University, New Jersey THOMAS DELWORTH, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey ROBERT E. DICKINSON, University of Texas, Austin JAMES A. EDMONDS, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, Maryland JAMES S. FAMIGLIETTI, University of California, Irvine INEZ FUNG, University of California, Berkeley JAMES J. HACK, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee JAMES W. HURRELL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado DANIEL J. JACOB, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts JAMES L. KINTER III, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland LAI-YUNG RUBY LEUNG, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington SHAWN MARSHALL, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada WIESLAW MASLOWSKI, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California LINDA O. MEARNS, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado RICHARD B. ROOD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor LARRY L. SMARR, University of California, San Diego NRC Staff: EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer KATIE THOMAS, Associate Program Officer ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator APRIL MELVIN, Christine Mirzayan Science and Policy Fellow, 2011 ALEXANDRA JAHN, Christine Mirzayan Science and Policy Fellow, 2012 v

OCR for page R1
BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR. (Chair), University of Maryland, College Park GERALD A. MEEHL (Vice Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado RICHARD (RIT) CARBONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado KIRSTIN DOW, University of South Carolina, Columbia GREG S. FORBES, The Weather Channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia LISA GODDARD, Columbia University, Palisades, New York ISAAC HELD, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, New Jersey ANTHONY JANETOS, Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park, Maryland HAROON S. KHESHGI, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Annandale, New Jersey MICHAEL D. KING, University of Colorado, Boulder JOHN E. KUTZBACH, University of Wisconsin-Madison ARTHUR LEE, Chevron Corporation, San Ramon, California ROBERT J. LEMPERT, The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California ROGER B. LUKAS, University of Hawaii, Honolulu SUMANT NIGAM, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, College Park, Maryland RAYMOND T. PIERREHUMBERT, The University of Chicago, Illinois KIMBERLY PRATHER, University of California, San Diego RICH RICHELS, Electric Power Research Institute, Inc., Washington, D.C. DAVID A. ROBINSON, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway KIRK R. SMITH, University of California, Berkeley JOHN T. SNOW, The University of Oklahoma, Norman CLAUDIA TEBALDI, Climate Central, Princeton, New Jersey XUBIN ZENG, University of Arizona, Tucson NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer MAGGIE WALSER, Program Officer KATIE THOMAS, Associate Program Officer LAUREN BROWN, Research Associate vi

OCR for page R1
RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator DANIEL MUTH, Postdoctoral Fellow ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate SHELLY FREELAND, Senior Program Assistant RICARDO PAYNE, Senior Program Assistant AMANDA PURCELL, Senior Program Assistant ELIZABETH FINKLEMAN, Program Assistant GRAIG MANSFIELD, Financial Associate vii

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
Preface G lobal warming is a pivotal environmental and social issue of the 21st century. Its long time scales, diverse consequences, and direct ties to our global energy- production infrastructure make it challenging for societies around the world to grapple with and threaten humanity’s ability to mount an effective response. This challenge is compounded by the complexity of the Earth-human system. The funda- mental science of greenhouse gas-induced climate change is simple and compelling. However, genuine and important uncertainties remain (e.g., the response of clouds, ecosystems, and the polar regions) and need to be considered in developing scientifi- cally based strategies for societal response to climate change. As in most other areas of science and engineering, over the past 50 years, large nu- merical models have become an indispensable tool for climate science. They allow increased knowledge of individual physical processes to feed into better system-level simulations, which can be tested with observations of the system as a whole—not unlike simulating a new airplane design and testing it in a wind tunnel. Climate simu- lations benefit from using a finer mesh of grid points and include more interacting Earth-system processes; this requires the largest computers that scientists can obtain. The efficient use of large computers and the large data sets they develop requires increased support for software design and infrastructure—a major thread running through this report. Climate modeling began in the United States. The United States continues to support a diversity of regional and global climate modeling efforts, now embedded within a vigorous international climate modeling scene. A rapidly expanding applications com- munity is using climate model outputs for informing policy decisions and as input to other models and demands more detailed and reliable information. Increasingly, the needs of this community, as much as basic scientific questions, are driving the climate modeling enterprise in the United States and abroad. As models, computing needs, and user needs become more complex, the U.S. climate modeling community will need to collaborate more tightly internally and with its users in order to be effective. Recognizing national traditions of multiagency funding and encouraging diversity and creativity, our long-term strategic vision emphasizes the nurturing of self-governance structures that reach between current climate mod- ix

OCR for page R1
P R E FA C E eling efforts, coupled with investment in cutting-edge computing infrastructure of which a more unified climate modeling enterprise can take full advantage. We would like to thank the numerous members of the climate modeling community who generously gave of their time to provide input during this study process. In par- ticular, we would like to thank all of the speakers, workshop participants, interviewees, and reviewers (listed in the Acknowledgments). Finally, we would like to thank the Na- tional Research Council staff, without whom this report would not have been possible: Katie Thomas, Rob Greenway, Rita Gaskins, April Melvin, Alexandra Jahn, and Edward Dunlea. Chris Bretherton, Chair Committee on a National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling x

OCR for page R1
Acknowledgments T his report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (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 re- sponsiveness 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: Eric Barron, Florida State University, Tallahassee Amy Braverman, NASA JPL, Los Angeles, California Antonio Busalacchi, University of Maryland, College Park Jack Dongarra, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Lisa Goddard, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Palisades, New York Isaac M. Held, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, New Jersey Wayne Higgins, NCEP/NOAA, Camp Springs, Maryland Anthony Leonard, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena John Michalakes, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado John Mitchell, UK Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom Gavin Schmidt, NASA/Real Climate, New York, New York Andrew Weaver, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Richard N. Wright, Practice, Education and Research for Sustainable Infrastructure, Washington, D.C. Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and sug- gestions, they were not asked to endorse the views of the committee, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. Robert Frosch, Harvard University, appointed by the NRC Report Review Com- mittee, who was 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 panel and the institution. xi

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
Contents Summary 1 PART 1:  BACKGROUND 17 1 Introduction 19 2 Lessons from Previous Reports on Climate Modeling 47 PART 2:  CURRENT ISSUES IN CLIMATE MODELING 61 3  Strategies for Developing Climate Models: Model Hierarchy, Resolution, and Complexity 63 4 Scientific Frontiers 81 5 Integrated Climate Observing System and Earth System Analysis 109 6 Characterizing, Quantifying, and Communicating Uncertainty 129 7 Climate Model Development Workforce 145 8  Relationship of U.S. Climate Modeling to Other International and National Efforts 153 9 Strategy for Operational Climate Modeling and Data Distribution 163 PART 3:  STRATEGY FOR ADVANCING CLIMATE MODELING 173 1 0 Computational Infrastructure—Challenges and Opportunities 175 1 1 Synergies Between Weather and Climate Modeling 197 1 2 Interface with User and Educational Communities 209 1 3 Strategies for Optimizing U.S. Institutional Arrangements 223 1 4 A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling 239 References 249 APPENDIXES A Statement of Task 267 B Community Input 269 C Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 273 xiii

OCR for page R1