Rob Jacob, a computational climate scientist in Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division, collaborated on a two-decade simulation of a prototype version of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM4). This is believed to be the first study where all components have enough horizontal resolution for both the ocean and atmosphere to explicitly simulate turbulent instabilities of large-scale circulation.
Simulating the Earth system is a major scientific challenge. Current simulations typically suffer from missing or inadequately represented processes in component models, as well as feedback among the components. The prototype CCSM4 results demonstrated the computational feasibility and model readiness to run coupled high-resolution simulations in order to examine features such as variability across decades and the contribution of ocean mixing in tropical storms to ocean heat transport.
Moreover, the simulation shows the potential for simulating important coupled mesoscale features previously impractical in a global coupled model, particularly the generation of intense tropical cyclones.
The simulation was conducted with researchers from Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Oak Ridge national laboratories, NCAR, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Future work will focus on improving the atmospheric dynamics core and atmospheric physics parameterizations.