A Regional Earth System Model of the NE Corridor: Analyzing 21st Century Climate and Environment - Energy Systems Analysis and Emission Scenarios

Funding Program: 

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) work is a part of the City University of New York (CUNY) led proposal #1049181, titled: A Regional Earth System Model of the Northeast Corridor: Analyzing 21st Century Climate and Environment, that was recommended for funding under a NSF/DOE/USDA Collaborative solicitation (NSF 10-554) - Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction using Earth System Models (EaSM).


To build a Northeast Regional Earth System Model (NE-RESM) that improves understanding and capacity to forecast the implications of planning decisions on the region's environment, ecosystem services, energy systems and economy through the 21st century. We focus on three strategic planning sectors that are important to the region and for which we have sufficient information, insights, and technical capabilities:

  • Energy production capacity in light of water constraints on hydro- and thermoelectric facilities;
  • Biofuels, regional carbon balance and sequestration capacity, and potential resurgence of agriculture across the region; and,
  • Pollution management to support water quality standards and protect inland aquatic habitat.


The core of the energy and emissions scenario analysis performed by BNL uses a comprehensive energy systems model MARKAL (MARKet Allocation), built on an integrated energy, environmental and economic methodology, with detailed energy technology characterization. MARKAL provides a framework to evaluate all resource and technology options within the context of the entire energy/materials system, and captures the market interaction among fuels to meet demands for 2050 (e.g., competition between nuclear, renewable and fossil for electricity generation or transportation energy). The model captures detailed technical representations of fossil, nuclear and renewable resources, mining and sequestration, refining and conversion, power generation, hydrogen and gas/liquid fuel production, transmission and distribution, and demand side consumption technologies. In addition, greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants are modeled for each conversion process on life cycle basis.


MARKAL will provide a critical link and an endogenous feedback loop for the coupled biogeophysical system interacting with meso-economic analysis, for iterations on various elements. Various scenarios will be developed to evaluate the impacts of climate change on water availability that will alter power plant performance and deployment mix of future technologies in MARKAL. Change in heating and cooling requirements due to climate change will significantly alter the energy generated. Scenarios on the portfolio of energy production, conversion and use technologies in MARKAL will determine anthropogenic GHG emissions overtime, which will provide inputs to regional air-shed and climate models. A range of above scenarios analyzed by MARKAL will provide sensitivity of the energy economy to the meso-economic model for impacts assessment. Open structure and explicit analysis of MARKAL is designed for interactive decision maker dialogue and policy engagement. A mix of GHG mitigation policies or technology deployment strategies will be evaluated by MARKAL to support effective decision making.

Project Term: 
2011 to 2014
Project Type: 
Science Focus Area (SFA)