climate research activities in the United States. The USGCRP has stated in its strategic plan that “the global change research community as a whole would benefit from an increased and more systematic dialogue” and that “USGCRP will play an important role in facilitating this dialogue” (USGCRP, 2012).

Meeting overload is always a concern and that makes it important that the Forum be seen as exciting and attractive. However, it is not expected that every modeler be at the proposed Forum. Instead the emphasis would be on transferring information between modeling communities and interacting with user communities. Representatives of each major modeling group should attend all the meetings, and many more modelers should be encouraged to attend through their interest in discussion of intercomparison projects and various changing themes. One potentially unique attraction of this meeting would be users giving more substantial talks about their experiences and issues with using climate model output and how closely existing simulations meet their needs. This thread could lead to the Forum being a nexus for modelers to interact with the National Climate Assessment, depending on how that evolves.

Common Software Infrastructure

Chapter 10 advocated that a national computing and data infrastructure be a major component of a national strategy for climate modeling; here we discuss some of its institutional benefits and challenges. One of the weaknesses identified in the current U.S. structure is that efforts can be subcritical. The distributed U.S. modeling system has some some tendency for multiple institutions to develop modeling capabilities that partly duplicate efforts at other centers. A common software infrastructure can increase returns from existing structures across the U.S. modeling institutions. One goal of such a structure would be to allow the easy exchange and adoption of modeling components. For example, if certain model components are viewed as “relatively mature,” or if there is one facility that is acknowledged as premier in developing some component (e.g., sea ice), those could become the de facto standard in the U.S. modeling community. This designation could effectively liberate resources at the other centers to focus on their strengths and address other critical topics, such as simulation of cloud feedbacks, which might benefit more from a diversity of approaches.

The adoption of common software infrastructures has been advocated previously (e.g., Dickinson et al., 2002), and individual modeling centers have since internally adopted such infrastructures to allow a variety of configurations of their modeling system for different applications (see discussion in Chapter 10, including Box 10.2 on ESMF, an infrastructure that was intended for community use by multiple model-

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