Regional & Global Model Analysis

The overarching goal of the Regional & Global Model Analysis (RGMA) program area is to enhance predictive and process- and system-level understanding of the modes of variability and change within the earth system by advancing capabilities to design, evaluate, diagnose, and analyze global and regional earth system model (ESM) simulations informed by observations.  

The rapidly increasing complexity of ESMs necessitates a rigorous and comprehensive understanding and evaluation of their skill and behavior. Multifaceted, multisystem approaches are required to probe and understand the various feedbacks within and among individual systems, including the atmosphere, ocean, land surface, and cryosphere. The use of model simulations, in combination with observations, enables a deeper understanding of the earth system and models that emulate it.

The RGMA program area focuses on analyzing regions critical to understanding the dynamics of climate variability and change; evaluating robust methods for higher spatial resolution simulations; and diagnosing and analyzing state-of-the-science coupled climate and ESMs across a wide range of scales. These analyses often take the form of modeling experiments that target various aspects of the climate system, including detection and attribution of changes, analysis of climate response to perturbations, exploration of predictability on subseasonal-to-decadal scales, and analysis of feedbacks within the earth system. Understanding and reducing biases of earth system models, as well as uncertainty characterization, are also important elements of the RGMA program area.

To enhance understanding of processes and feedbacks, and to reduce uncertainties and biases in ESMs, the RGMA program area has six major thrusts, each with unique priorities. These are enabled through a combination of university projects, science focus areas (SFA), and cooperative agreements (CA), as indicated in parentheses:

  • Cloud processes and Feedbacks focuses on improving simulation accuracy through better cloud representations in ESMs and on determining the cloud feedbacks that influence climate sensitivity and change. (PCMDI SFA)
  • Biogeochemical Processes and Feedbacks focuses on identifying and quantifying feedbacks between biogeochemical cycles and the earth system and on quantifying and reducing the uncertainties in ESMs associated with these feedback processes. (RUBISCO SFA)
  • High-Latitude Processes and Feedbacks aims at a better understanding of the processes driving rapid system change at high latitudes and the subsequent effects on the Earth’s environment. (HiLAT SFA)
  • Modes of Variability and Change provides insight on the interplay between internally generated climate variability and externally forced response for improved understanding of near-term decadal predictability and projections in the context of longer-term projections. (PCMDI SFA and CATALYST CA)
  • Extreme Event Drivers, Statistics, and Uncertainties targets actionable understanding of multi-sectoral impacts of extreme weather events, especially droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones, and the physical mechanisms that drive variability and change in extremes. (CASCADE SFA & HyperFACETS CA)
  • Water Cycle focuses on advancing the understanding of multiscale water cycle processes and hydrologic extremes and their response to perturbations in the context of the whole earth system and implications for water availability. (WACCEM SFA & HyperFACETS CA)

Some of the cross-cutting capabilities that are the strength of the RGMA program area include:

  • Development of frameworks using a hierarchy of models, ranging from the most complex, very high-resolution climate models like the Department of Energy’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), non-hydrostatic atmospheric models, variable resolution models, and super parametrized models to less complex system models or idealized configurations of complex models for hypothesis testing and addressing scientific questions. (WACCEM SFA, HiLAT SFA, CASCADE SFA, CATALYST CA, HyperFACETS CA)
  • Holistic uncertainty characterization is enabled by a suite of tools, ranging from cutting-edge computational capabilities to complementary empirical models enabled by the latest statistical techniques. This enables us to understand and evaluate the need for improved observations and models. (CASCADE SFA, HiLAT SFA, CATALYST CA)
  • Diagnosing the complex behavior of model simulations and evaluating the capability of models through systematic comparison with available observations and quantifiable metrics, novel diagnostics, and robust extreme event identification methods are some of the core activities of the RGMA program area. These provide pathways for advancing an understanding of the earth system, improving models, and reducing uncertainties that exist in current ESMs. (RUBISCO SFA, WACCEM SFA, PCMDI SFA, CASCADE SFA, CATALYST CA)

The RGMA program area also actively contributes to and coordinates its activities with the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (US CLIVAR), and Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC).

Solicitations: Funding opportunity announcements are posted on the DOE Office of Science Grants and Contracts Website and at grants.gov. 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 for projects by the program area is contingent on adherence to the BER data sharing policy.

 

Current RGMA Science Focus Areas

Current RGMA University Projects

Current RGMA Cooperative Agreements

Recent Content

Recent Highlights

Near-term prediction of climate, an important activity at national and international climate centers, is challenging because it is affected by both natural variability and external forcing. This work provides a methodology that enhances the predictive skill of near-term climate predictions.
Earth system models, including E3SM, have long standing problems representing deforestation effects on evapotranspiration, which is problematic when the models are used for forest and water resources management decisions. We optimized the E3SM Land Model (ELMv1) to match observations from a recent...
Optimization of wind turbine (WT) arrays to maximize system-wide power production (i.e. minimize ‘wind-theft’)and minimize impacts on the local environment requires high-fidelity simulations of array-array interactions at the regional scale. Our analyses provide key guidance on how to conduct and...
We applied a well-tested mechanistic model, ecosys, to examine how different plant types (evergreens, graminoids, deciduous, moss, and lichen) across the boreal forests and Arctic tundra of Alaska will respond to projected 21st-century changes in climate and fire. We modeled, consistent with...
Terrestrial ecosystem carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycling processes are strongly modulated by the climate and they also generate significant feedbacks to the climate system and play important roles in the changing climate.
Trend, detection, and attribution analyses were performed using naturalized streamflow observations and routed land surface model runoff for 10 subbasins in the Columbia River Basin (CRB) during water years 1951–2008. 
Arctic regions are changing rapidly as temperatures warm, and these changes directly affect Arctic river deltas that connect the continents to the Arctic Ocean. Because of the difficulty of field-based research in these remote regions, we do not yet understand how ice cover and frozen soil (i.e.,...
The role of cloud radiative feedbacks in extratropical storm tracks is directly investigated using the Community Earth System Model, version 2 (CESM2). The cloud radiative feedback is artificially disabled using a method called “cloud locking” in which an independent cloud dataset is used for...
High-resolution regional climate simulations coupled with a satellite-driven urban canopy model are used to investigate the interacting effects of climate change, population growth, and urban heat mitigation measures on exposure to extreme heat events and associated energy demands.
The role of cloud radiative feedbacks in the most important mode of interannual climate variability -- El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)  --  are directly investigated using the Community Earth System Model, version 1.2 (CESM1.2). The cloud radiative feedback is artificially disabled using a...

Recent Publications

Since near‐term predictions of present‐day climate are controlled by both initial condition predictability and boundary condition predictability, initialized prediction experiments aim to augment the external‐forcing‐related predictability realized in uninitialized projections with initial‐...
Evapotranspiration (ET) plays an important role in land‐atmosphere coupling of energy, water, and carbon cycles. Following deforestation, ET is typically observed to decrease substantially as a consequence of decreases in leaf area and roots and increases in runoff. Changes in ET (latent heat flux...
We document the configuration, tuning, and evaluation of a modified version of the Community Earth System Model version 1 (Hurrell et al., 2013, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-12), introduced here as E3SMv0‐HiLAT, intended for study of high‐latitude processes. E3SMv0‐HiLAT incorporates changes to...
The notion that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) can have more than one stable equilibrium emerged in the 1980s as a powerful hypothesis to explain rapid climate variability during the Pleistocene. Ever since, the idea that a temporary perturbation of the AMOC—or a permanent...
Optimization of wind turbine (WT) arrays to maximize system-wide power production (i.e. minimize ‘wind-theft’) requires high-fidelity simulations of array-array interactions at the regional scale. This study systematically compares two parameterizations (Fitch and EWP) developed to describe wind...
High-latitude regions have experienced rapid warming in recent decades, and this trend is projected to continue over the twenty-first century1. Fire is also projected to increase with warming2,3. We show here, consistent with changes during the Holocene4, that changes in twenty-first-century...
Over the past several decades, the land modeling community has recognized the importance of nutrient regulation on the global terrestrial carbon cycle. Implementations of nutrient limitation in land models are diverse, varying from applying simple empirical down‐regulation of potential gross...
Trend, detection, and attribution analyses were performed using naturalized streamflow observations and routed land surface model runoff for 10 subbasins in the Columbia River Basin (CRB) during water years 1951–2008. The Energy Exascale Earth System land-surface model (ELM) version 1.0 and the...
Recent studies have focused on the role of cloud radiative effects (CRE) in governing the mean atmospheric circulation and its response to climate change. This study instead examines the role of CRE in climate variability in the extratropics. Cloud locking experiments are performed using the...
One near-term expression of climate change is increased occurrence and intensity of extreme heat events. The evolution of extreme heat risk in cities depends on the interactions of large-scale climate change with regional dynamics and urban micro-climates as well as the distribution and demographic...