Supercomputing for a Changing Planet: Simulation and Climate Change

There are few issues today that capture as much attention as climate change: from policy makers and soccer moms to activists and mathematicians, a great deal of the world’s intellectual capability is focused on understanding, managing, and reversing the damaging climate effects of human activity on planet earth. The scope and complexity of the climate change problem pushes the boundaries of our scientific and engineering capabilities, even as the vast scale of the problem challenges our concepts of governance and the organization of civil society.

During SC10 next week, attendees will gather to learn from some of the world’s foremost experts in climate change and computation, and participate in exchanges that may shape future solutions. From masterworks sessions on the future of computing in climate science to papers on computational and data analytic issues, SC10 is a must-attend event for anyone working in the intersection of computing and the climate.

Climate Modeling Research at Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s oldest and largest national laboratories for science and engineering research. Managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Argonne supports over 200 research projects in the areas of energy, biological and environmental systems, and national security and operates major experimental and computational facilities for the nation.

In the fourth of our four-part series on HPC in climate modeling, Linda Barney talks with ANL researchers and users, about the different climate modeling projects the laboratory is supporting. Argonne research is yielding new insights into such issues as how available arable land and agricultural productivity may change as a result of changes in income, population distribution, and climate and how uncertainty in economic model inputs translates into uncertainty in model outputs.

State of the Art Climate Modeling Research at NERSC

The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a flagship scientific computing facility for the Office of Science. NERSC is located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, and has over 3,000 users from universities and national labs.

In the third of our four-part series on HPC in climate modeling, Linda Barney talks with Kathy Yelick, NERSC Director, about the different climate modeling projects the facility is supporting. Climate research at NERSC crosses a wide spectrum of projects — including ocean, atmosphere, and icing models — as well as research being done by Princeton University’s Climate Modeling Consortium.

UCAR’s Community Climate System Model and Research

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research was created in the late 1950s by faculty from 14 leading universities to support and nourish the atmospheric sciences. In partnership with the NSF they established NCAR to address pressing scientific and societal needs involving the atmosphere and its interactions with the oceans, land, and Sun.

As part of its activities, UCAR developed and maintains the Community Climate System Model (CCSM), a global computational climate model. The CCSM runs on all of the major supercomputing systems, and is used by scientists around the world to tackle some of the largest climate questions facing our society today.

In the second of our four-part series on HPC in climate modeling, Linda Barney looks at UCAR’s Community Climate System Model and the impact that it is having on climate research around the world.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Role in Climate Research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is at the forefront of climate research and climate modeling: the mission of its Climate Modeling Program is to improve climate change projections using state-of-the-science coupled climate and earth system models, on time scales of decades to centuries and spatial scales of global to regional. DOE plays a vital and unique role in the climate modeling enterprise in the U.S., primarily through two Offices in DOE including the Office of Science and Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) as well as Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR).

In the first of this four-part series on climate modeling research in the DOE, Linda Barney looks at activities in the DOE as a whole.