[Lubchenco, 2009]). This migration of experimental models into operational use has the potential of efficiently leveraging the U.S. climate research community to provide more skillful and comprehensive climate predictions. Effecting this transition is difficult, because of gaps between research goals and operational imperatives (e.g., that changing an operational model requires a more careful and elaborate process than for a research model) and mismatches between resource requirements needed to maintain an operational model and the current distribution of resources between research, development, and operations. There is clearly a need for adequate support for research on climate modeling, operational climate prediction, and an effective interface between the two.

Finding 9.1: Some operational seasonal-to-interannual prediction efforts are already under way, and there are archives of model output from research-oriented international climate model intercomparisons focused on multidecadal to centennial climate simulation; these archives do not cover all of the needs of climate information users.


The current practice of configuring and running climate models is primarily done by a relatively small number of developers and programmers with insufficient support for robust code development and support. Many aspects of climate model development and usage (e.g., setting up model experiments and “tuning” climate model parameterizations) cannot be made routine when model configuration and execution demands such large efforts from a small number of people. This practice also does not facilitate rigorous attention to reproducibility, which is needed to ensure credibility. Finally, singular efforts such as are the current practice do not adequately support the sustained two-way conversation that must take place between developers and user communities2 regarding requirements, expectations, use cases, etc. Interactions between model developers and other communities of researchers, practitioners, and decision makers are beginning to be encouraged; for example, the Community Earth System Model project recently added a working group on societal dimensions.3

Finding 9.2: The current collection of efforts for research in climate model development is not well positioned to perform operational climate modeling.


2 Individuals and groups interested in applying climate model outputs to the management of the societal effects of climate change.

3http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/working_groups/Societal/ (accessed October 11, 2012).

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