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Capacity of U.S. Climate Modeling to Support Climate Change Assessment Activities Climate Research Committee Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998
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Page ii 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 competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Contract No. 50-DKNA-7-90052. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the above-mentioned agency. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06375-2 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) Cover: The cover design represents the environmental, human, and computational elements that underlie climate modeling. The equations in the design are a form of the so-called “primitive equations,” which are included in all dynamical climate models. The photograph is by Peggy June Ostrom Schultz, an artist in Newark, Delaware. Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Page iii Climate Research Committee Members THOMAS R. KARL (Chair), National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina ROBERT E. DICKINSON (Vice Chair), University of Arizona, Tucson MAURICE BLACKMON, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado BERT BOLIN, Osterskar, Sweden JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara JAMES GIRAYTYS, Consultant, Winchester, Virginia JAMES E. HANSEN, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, New York, N.Y. PHILIP E. MERILEES, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California ROBERTA BALSTAD MILLER, CIESIN, Columbia University, New York S. ICHTIAQUE RASOOL, University of New Hampshire, Durham STEVEN W. RUNNING, University of Montana, Missoula EDWARD S. SARACHIK, University of Washington, Seattle WILLIAM H. SCHLESINGER, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina KARL E. TAYLOR, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California ANNE M. THOMPSON, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Ex Officio Members W. LAWRENCE GATES, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California DOUGLAS G. MARTINSON, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of Arizona, Tucson PETER J. WEBSTER, University of Colorado, Boulder NRC Staff PETER SCHULTZ, Study Director LOWELL SMITH, Senior Program Officer (ending September 31, 1998) TENECIA BROWN, Senior Program Assistant
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Page iv Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Members ERIC J. BARRON (Co-chair), Pennsylvania State University, University Park JAMES R. MAHONEY (Co-chair), International Technology Corporation, Washington, D.C. SUSAN K. AVERY, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder LANCE F. BOSART, State University of New York, Albany MARVIN A. GELLER, State University of New York, Stony Brook DONALD M. HUNTEN, University of Arizona, Tucson JOHN IMBRIE, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island CHARLES E. KOLB, Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts THOMAS J. LENNON, Sonalysts, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia MARK R. SCHOEBERL, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland JOANNE SIMPSON, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland NIEN DAK SZE, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts NRC Staff ELBERT W. (Joe) FRIDAY, Jr., Director H. FRANK EDEN, Senior Program Officer (ending December 31, 1998) DAVID H. SLADE, Senior Program Officer LAURIE GELLER, Program Officer PETER SCHULTZ, Program Officer DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Assistant ROBIN MORRIS, Financial Associate TENECIA BROWN, Senior Program Assistant CARTER FORD, Project Assistant
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Page v Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources Members GEORGE M. HORNBERGER (Chair), University of Virginia, Charlottesville PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JERRY F. FRANKLIN, University of Washington, Seattle B. JOHN GARRICK, PLG, Inc., Newport Beach, California THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Foundation, Washington, D.C. KAI N. LEE, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts JUDITH E. MCDOWELL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts RICHARD A. MESERVE, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. HUGH C. MORRIS, Canadian Global Change Program, Delta, British Columbia RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens THOMAS C. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park MARY LOU ZOBACK, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California NRC Staff ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate MARQUITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst
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Page vi The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished 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. Bruce M. Alberts is president 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 autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure 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 education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine 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 communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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Page vii Preface This report responds to an oral request by two U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) agency program managers, Michael Hall of NOAA and Jay Fein of NSF, made at the Climate Research Committee (CRC) meeting held on October 15-17, 1997, and as part of an understanding with Mike MacCracken of the USGCRP Program Office. In June 1996, the CRC and the USGCRP co-hosted a forum on the status and infrastructure needs of climate modeling in the United States. Prior to the forum, public discussion on the organization of the U.S. climate modeling community and the adequacy of resources available to it had been spurred by four prominent climate research scientists in an open letter (October 1995) to USGCRP principals and widely circulated to the climate research community (See Appendix A). In this letter they asserted that the “American [climate modeling] effort is falling seriously behind that of Europe and, perhaps, Japan,” and expressed concern that the United States was in danger of being “relegated to permanent second-class status in this critical area of Earth science research.” They went on to outline three strategic options for regaining the lead in global climate modeling. The issues raised in this letter remain largely unresolved and, subsequently, other related issues have also been raised. In particular, some have questioned the adequacy of the present organization of the U.S. climate modeling community to respond to the
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Page viii challenge of participation in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as the sufficiency of computer facilities available within the United States to serve this purpose. This report is intended to inform USGCRP agencies on issues related to the capability of U.S. climate modeling efforts to support national and international climate assessments, and the sufficiency of computational resources available for this purpose. In this report, the committee will address three specific questions: 1. Do USGCRP agencies have a coordinated approach for prioritizing from a national perspective their climate modeling research and assessment efforts? 2. Are resources allocated effectively to address such priorities? 3. How can the U.S. climate modeling community make more efficient use of its available resources? The Climate Research Committee hopes that federal agencies and the USGCRP will find this report useful as they work to enhance the contribution that the U.S. climate research community can make to national and international assessments of climate change. THOMAS KARL, CHAIR
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Page ix Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of 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 participation in the review of this report: THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut DONALD M. HUNTEN, University of Arizona, Tucson JERRY MAHLMAN, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey LINDA MEARNS, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ROGER PIELKE, Jr., National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
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Page x CHESTER F. ROPELEWSKI, International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, Palisades, New York MICHAEL SCHLESINGER, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign JOHN M. WALLACE, University of Washington, Seattle WARREN WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado TOM WIGLEY, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.
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Page xi Contents Executive Summary 1 Capacity of U.S. Climate Modeling 7 Background 7 Policy Context 8 Current Small and Intermediate Modeling Capabilities 9 Current High-End Modeling Capabilities and Needs 10 Access to Foreign Model Output 13 Priority Setting 15 Coordination 16 Allocating Resources 20 Recent Developments Relevant to this Report: Computational Capabilities and Coordination 22 Conclusions 24 References 30
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Page xii Appendix A-Letter from Barnett, Randall, Semtner, and Somerville 31 Appendix B-Statement of Task 37 Appendix C-CRC Climate Modeling Workshop Invitation and Agenda 39 Appendix D-Examples of Access Restrictions on Foreign Atmospheric Data 45 Appendix E-Correspondence from Bill Buzbee 47 • Letter to Tom Karl 47 • NCAR Measurements of Single Processor Performance 49 • A Sampling of Computing Systems in Major Atmospheric Modeling Centers Around the World 50 • Comments from UCAR to the International Trade Commission Hearing 57