New NCAR, ORNL climate simulation doubles detail of previous models

June 26, 2002

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 26, 2002 -- Climate studies just doubled in resolution because of a new model developed and implemented by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and run on the Cheetah supercomputer.

"The kind of science that ORNL's Cheetah enables is already apparent," said Warren Washington, NCAR senior scientist. "The tremendous computing power this machine provides has allowed us to perform simulations that will allow for better regional detail, which important for understanding the local impacts of global climate change."

ORNL's Cheetah has 4.5 teraflops (4.5 trillion calculations per second) of computing power and on Thursday was listed No. 8 in the Top500 list of fastest computers in the world.

While the first test computation at higher resolution shows improvements in several areas, there are still some shortcomings not related to resolution, Washington said. Tony Craig and Tom Bettge of NCAR and Trey White of ORNL were able to configure a new climate model that is optimized for Cheetah, which is the nickname for ORNL's IBM Power4 System-based computer. Jim Hack of NCAR provided improvements in the atmospheric parameters at the new higher resolution and testing will continue for several more months.

"As more computational power is unleashed on the problem of climate change," Washington said, "there will be more regional climate detail in this version of the model. Subsequently, this model will be used for studies of the multiple feedbacks between increased carbon loading of the atmosphere, dynamic ecosystems and air quality."

The new model improves resolution from 2.8 degrees to 1.4 degrees.

The new higher resolution simulation is a first look at the newest United States-coupled climate model, the Community Climate System Model 2. In this model, mathematical equations are solved representing the fluid circulation of the oceans, atmosphere and sea ice as well as interactions with the land/vegetation systems. All these components of the Earth climate system interact with a complexity still only partially understood, creating El Nino and other cyclic patterns.

"Having the capability to more accurately simulate these interactions allows climate researchers to predict what changes are in store for us in coming decades and centuries," ORNL's White said.
-end-
CCSM is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. ORNL is a DOE multiprogram research facility managed by UT-Battelle. NCAR is operated by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation has been NCAR's primary sponsor since its inception. In addition, the center carries out research sponsored by a number of federal agencies.

NOTE TO EDITORS:

You may read other press releases from Oak Ridge National Laboratory or learn more about the lab at http://www.ornl.gov/news.

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.