Science

EARTH SYSTEM MODELING

The Department of Energy (DOE) has the principal responsibility for understanding how energy production and usage, particularly fossil emissions result in climate change and how climate change impacts energy production. In order to enable sound decision-making on issues pertaining to future energy use and technology options, credible high-resolution climate change simulations are required at a regional scale. To achieve such high-resolution simulations, the accuracy and throughput need to be dramatically increased; thus the Earth system modeling activity takes advantage of emerging high performance computing and information technologies, e.g., DOE Leadership Computing Facilities and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC).

The Program also contributes to the Climate Variability and Change element of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and coordinates its activities with the climate modeling programs at other federal agencies, particularly the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Community Climate System Model project, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

 

REGIONAL & GLOBAL CLIMATE MODELING

The Regional & Global Climate Modeling (RGCM) program sponsors projects that engage in analysis and process-based evaluation of multi-model climate change projections for the 21st century using innovative metrics. This is intended to lead to greater understanding of the uncertainties and shortcomings of dynamically coupled state-of-the-science regional and global climate models.

The Program also contributes to the Climate Variability and Change element of the of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and coordinates its activities with the climate modeling programs at other federal agencies, particularly the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

 

INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

DOE supports research on models and tools for integrated analysis of both the drivers and consequences of climate change. Past work has focused on drivers, specifically sources of greenhouse gas emissions within a common, most often economic, modeling framework. Until recently, only modest attention and resources were devoted to modeling the interactive effects of consequences, that is to say, impacts and adaptation but this has become a major focus for the program. In addition, future integrated assessment models will need to go beyond a national focus to better inform regional integrated planning.

While integrated assessment models have already proven their worth as critical decision tools, next generation models and the IARP will be called upon to do much more, including broad-based vulnerability analyses spanning multiple, interactive stressors; analysis of the role of science and technology in both mitigation and adaptation; study of the effects of human behavior; and assessment of the combined economic effects of different response strategies and policies. They will also be used to explore key intersecting systems and their interdependencies, such as found at the energy, water, and land nexus.