Regional & Global Model Analysis

The goal of the Regional & Global Model Analysis (RGMA) program area is to advance the predictive understanding of Earth’s climate by focusing on scientific analysis of the dominant sets of governing processes that describe climate change on regional scales; evaluating robust methods to obtain higher spatial resolution for projections of climate and earth system change; and diagnosing model systems that are cause for uncertainty in regional climate projections. The program area's goal is accomplished through sensitivity studies and applications of regional and global earth system models that focus on various aspects of the climate system, including but not limited to, the understanding of feedbacks within the climate system, detection and attribution studies, developing capabilities for decadal predictability, and uncertainty characterization. RGMA investments are also dedicated to the development of metrics for model validation, that in turn may be used to inform the model development strategies of Earth System Model Development (ESMD), and to inform the process research priorities of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences (TES) and the Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program areas. RGMA also coordinates with the Multisector Dynamics (MD) program area on understanding individual and select coupled systems, such as water resources, critical for the energy mission.

RGMA Priorities:

1. Development of robust analytical frameworks and model hierarchies to advance Earth system projections, predictions, and hindcasts, and to understand climate evolution at multiple scales. This priority also includes decadal predictions for specific regions, using high-resolution and variable scale climate modeling, and applying a combination of dynamical and statistical downscaling methodologies. Metrics are developed and assessed depending on measurement availability and quality, and depending on temporal and spatial scales.

2. Focused investigation of regions that are climatically sensitive or vital to climate assessments.

  • Arctic focus: Analyze the complex interactions between sea ice, ice sheets, cold oceans, regional climate, and permafrost stability in the context of both high-resolution regional and global models. This links closely with the vegetation and biogeochemical focus of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) Arctic and informs ESMD.
  • Tropical focus: Includes an emphasis on understanding and identifying tropical biases, such as cloud-precipitation biases, in collaboration with ASR, and in the carbon cycle, in collaboration with TES and NGEE tropics.
  • Regional focus: Analysis of the integrated water cycle as climate changes will be done in collaboration with MD.

3. The assessment and delineation of natural and forced climate variability. Understanding the relative importance of anthropogenic versus natural climate change, i.e., taking into account natural variability, requires a combination of modeling and observational research to extend this understanding. This also includes resolving different long- and short-term modes of climate variability (e.g., El Niño Southern Oscillation, Madden-Julian Oscillation) and describing how these change in a changing climate.

4. The analysis and understanding of climate extreme events, including floods and droughts, potential abrupt system changes, and tipping points, and how these are affected in a changing climate. Further emphasis is placed on multivariate and multi-stressor extremes, such as simultaneous combinations of hot, dry, and windy conditions and hot, moist, and stagnant conditions, and characterizing the number and amount of exceedances above given thresholds and quantifying uncertainties. Climate system resilience, reversibility, and tipping points are investigated.

5. The characterization of climate feedbacks and their uncertainties to quantify the cloud-climate, carbon-cycle climate, high-latitude feedback processes and address the fidelity of the models that capture these processes at regional and global scales.

6. Model evaluation, analysis, uncertainty characterization, diagnostics, and visualization tools to improve and facilitate comparison among models and between models and measurements in order to challenge and inform model development. Metrics to evaluate components of the Earth system, such as the carbon cycle, ocean eddies, and cloud-aerosol interactions, represent a practical approach to help guide the planning process for observational and process research.

7. Dissemination of data through the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF). The ESGF is an interagency and international effort led by DOE and co-funded by national and international agencies for the management and dissemination of CMIP5 model output and observational data. Efforts will soon be placed on developing a roadmap to upgrade the ESGF to handle data emerging post-CMIP5.

Why the Program Area's Research is Important

Achieving greater detail about uncertainty and future variability of the earth climate system is critical for decision makers. There is a need to ascertain shifts in major modes of climate variability and climate extremes, to detect and attribute regional manifestations of climate change. This program area also provides support for national and international climate modeling research and assessments. An understanding of the model biases seamlessly feeds back to the model development needs of the Earth System Model Development (ESMD) program area, the process research needs of the Atmospheric System Research (ASR) and Terrestrial Ecosystem Science (TES) program areas.

RGMA also contributes to elements of the Interagency Group on Integrated Modeling (IGIM) 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).


Funding opportunity announcements are posted on the DOE Office of Science Grants and Contracts Website and at Information about preparing and submitting applications, as well as the DOE Office of Science merit review process, is at the DOE Office of Science Grants and Contracts Web Site.

Data Sharing Policy

Funding of projects by the program area is contingent on adherence to the BER data sharing policy.

Current RGMA Scientific Focus Areas

Current RGMA University Projects

Current RGMA Cooperative Agreements

Recent Content

Recent Highlights

We explored the effect of weighting a regional climate model (RCM) ensemble using metrics developed for RCM performance evaluation. In most cases, when metrics are used for weights they do not improve ensemble mean bias or change ensemble mean projections; additionally, we showed that weights often...
Berkeley Lab and University of California, Irvine researchers used a large database of soil organic bulk carbon (C) and radiocarbon (14C) to evaluate the new global land model ELMv1-ECA. The model provided good estimates of Δ14C values and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks near the surface but...
This work is among the first studies of Weddell Sea polynya formation in a global Earth system model (ESM) with eddy-resolving resolution in the ocean, sea ice, and atmosphere. Open ocean polynyas are regions of open water amidst the winter sea ice pack and are characterized by extreme air/sea...
Using outgoing longwave radiation and velocity potential anomalies the paper shows links between extreme summertime heat waves over California’s Central Valley (CCV) and tropical convection as identified by specific Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) phase pairs. Strong MJO pairs 8 and 1 or 2 and 3...

Recent Publications

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is a key component of the global climate system. Recent studies suggested a twentieth‐century weakening of the AMOC of unprecedented amplitude (~15%) over the last millennium. Here we present a record of δ18O in benthic foraminifera from...
We explore the effect of weighting using the performance metrics developed for weighting in the ENSEMBLES program on the regional climate model (RCM) ensemble produced as a part of the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP). We consider weighting a reanalysis-driven...
This comprehensive review highlights the complementary relationship between simple and comprehensive models in addressing key topics that describe Earth's atmospheric circulation. The systematic representation of models in hierarchies connects understanding from idealized systems to comprehensive...
We evaluated global soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and turnover time predictions from a global land model (ELMv1‐ECA) integrated in an Earth System Model (E3SM) by comparing them with observed soil bulk and Δ14C values around the world. We analyzed observed and simulated SOC stocks and Δ14C...
Floodplain lakes represent important aquatic ecosystems, and field‐based estimates of their water budgets are difficult to obtain, especially over multiple years. We examine the hydrological fluxes for an Amazon floodplain lake connected to the Solimões River using a process‐based hydrologic model...