Environmental Science Division (EVS)a Division of Argonne National Laboratory
Predictive environmental understanding

New version of Earth model captures detailed climate dynamics

August 7, 2020

Using new high-resolution models developed through the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science, researchers are trying to predict climate trends for the near future and into the next century; hoping to provide the scientific basis to help mitigate the effects of extreme climate on energy, infrastructure and agriculture, among other essential services required to keep civilization moving forward.

Seven DOE national laboratories, including Argonne National Laboratory, are among a larger collaboration working to advance a high-resolution version of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM). The simulations they developed can capture the most detailed dynamics of climate-generating behavior, from the transport of heat through ocean eddies — advection — to the formation of storms in the atmosphere.

“E3SM is an Earth system model designed to simulate how the combinations of temperature, winds, precipitation patterns, ocean currents and land surface type can influence regional climate and built infrastructure on local, regional and global scales,” explains Robert Jacob, Argonne's E3SM lead and climate scientist in EVS. “More importantly, being able to predict how changes in climate and water cycling respond to increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) is extremely important in planning for our future.”

“Climate change can also have big impacts on our need and ability to produce energy, manage water supplies and anticipate impacts on agriculture” he adds, “so DOE wants a prediction model that can describe climate changes with enough detail to help decision-makers.”

EVS atmospheric and climate scientist Yan Feng also contributed to this work.

Read the full article by John Spizzirri.

Water vapor (gray) and sea surface temperature (blue to red) from the high-resolution E3SMv1. Just above center you can see a hurricane and the track of cold water (green) it produces trailing behind it.
Water vapor (gray) and sea surface temperature (blue to red) from the high-resolution E3SMv1. Just above center you can see a hurricane and the track of cold water (green) it produces trailing behind it. [Source: Mat Maltrud, Los Alamos National Laboratory]
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portrait of Robert Jacob
portrait of Yan Feng