Sandia high-performance computing (HPC) researchers are working with DOE and 14 other national laboratories and institutions to develop and apply the most complete climate and Earth system model, to address the most challenging and demanding climate-change issues. Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) is designed to accel­erate the development and applica­tion of fully coupled, state-of-the-science Earth system models for scientific and energy applications.

Sandia’s Mark Taylor is the chief computational scientist for the Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) project. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Sandia’s Mark Taylor is the chief computational scientist for the Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) project. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

The multiple-institution team will develop the most accurate climate-change predictions yet and investi­gate key fundamental science ques­tions in three areas that drive climate change: the water cycle, biogeochem­istry, & the cryosphere (areas of the earth where water exists as ice or snow).

  • Water Cycle: How do the hydro­logical cycle and water resources interact with the climate system on local to global scales? How will more realistic portrayals of features important to the water cycle (resolution, clouds, aerosols, snow­pack, river routing, land use) affect river flow and associated freshwater supplies at the watershed scale?
  • Biogeochemistry: How do biogeochemical cycles interact with global climate change? How do carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles regulate climate system feedbacks, and how sensitive are these feed­backs to model structural uncertainty?
  • Cryosphere systems: How do rapid changes in cryospheric systems, or areas of the earth where water exists as ice or snow, interact with the climate system? Could a dynamical instability in the Antarctic Ice Sheet be triggered within the next 40 years?

Sandia’s Mark Taylor (in the Multiphysics Applications Dept.), the project’s chief computational scien­tist, will lead the development of a comprehensive program for workflow, software engineering, and com­putational performance of the ACME modeling system. “Our work ensures ACME’s scientific program can be achieved with DOE’s leadership computing facilities. We will be applying a wide range of HPC approaches including developing new algorithms specially adapted to these architectures. Only through efficient use of these computers will we be able to model the many physical processes at the fidelity necessary to answer ACME’s science questions,” Taylor said. Taylor added that Sandia is in an ideal position for its share of the work on ACME because of its extensive experience in developing HPC environments, in software engineer­ing, and in quantifying computational uncertainties.

The computational team initially will customize the model for use on machines at two DOE Office of Science Leadership Computing Facilities—Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Mira at Argonne National Laboratory—in preparation for the next generation of exascale architectures.

The ACME partners include Sandia, Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest national laboratories along with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, four academic institutions, and one private-sector company.

Read the Sandia news release.

Initial funding for the effort has been provided by DOE’s Office of Science.

Read more at the Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy: Project Strategy and Initial Implementation Plan site.