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About Earth System Model Development

Mission and Priorities

The Earth System Model Development program area supports innovative and computationally advanced earth system modeling capabilities, with the ultimate goal of providing accurate and computationally advanced representations of the fully coupled and integrated Earth system, as needed for energy and related sectoral infrastructure planning. Key examples of critical information for energy include accurate projections of water availability, drought incidence, and persistence, temperature extremes, including prolonged heat stress, probability of storms, opening of the Arctic Ocean, and sea level and storm-surge at coastal regions. To provide this information, considerable effort is needed to develop optimal-fidelity earth system simulations, with suitably accurate representation of atmospheric dynamics, clouds and chemistry, ocean circulation and biogeochemistry, land biogeochemistry and hydrology, sea ice and dynamic land ice, and in each case including elements of human activities that affect these systems such as water management and land use.

Earth System Model Development utilizes the mathematical and computational expertise within the DOE national laboratories to develop efficient, accurate and advanced algorithms for these earth system processes and to improve model initialization, optimal component coupling and uncertainty of system simulation and climate projections. The aim is to optimize the earth system codes to run efficiently on DOE computer architectures, using modern and sustainable software and workflows, providing a high-resolution coupled climate and earth system simulation capability that is vital for accurately understanding how the earth system evolve and also support DOE energy planning responsibilities.

Central to the Earth System Model Development activities is the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) project, which is developing an earth system model that efficiently runs at high-resolution on DOE high-performance computers, simulating the near-term past (for model validation) and future (3 to 4 decades) in support of the DOE science mission. E3SM will design and perform high-resolution earth system simulations, targeting the research community’s more challenging science questions, e.g., involving cloud-aerosol interactions, ice sheet physics, biogeochemistry, hydrology, ocean eddy dynamics, and the interdependence of low-frequency variability and extreme weather. Other activities supported by Earth System Model Development complement and enhance E3SM, including the development of potential future-generation capabilities within the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program and supporting collaborative and community codes that are developed and used by multiple climate and weather groups.

The Earth System Model Development program area contributes to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and coordinates its activities with the climate modeling programs at other federal agencies, particularly National Science Foundation (NSF) through the CESM project, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Recent ESMD Highlights