A snapshot of a global simulation superimposed on a view of the earth from space

Sandia cloud-resolving climate model meets world’s fastest supercomputer

April 13, 2023 8:00 am Published by

Focused on the accuracy of climate predictions, a computational team led by Sandia National Laboratories recently achieved a major milestone with a cloud-resolving model they ran on Frontier, the world’s first exascale supercomputer.

“We have created the first global cloud-resolving model to simulate a world’s year of climate in a day,” said Sandia researcher Mark Taylor, chief computational scientist of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model, or E3SM, an eight-lab project supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science for the development of advanced climate models. “We’re ushering in a new era of accuracy.”

The E3SM model simulates critical aspects of Earth’s climate system that might impact conditions in the United States in the coming decades, including extreme temperatures, droughts, floods, and a rise in sea level.

Clouds play a critical role in Earth’s climate system, impacting weather patterns and precipitation. “Traditional Earth system models struggle to represent clouds accurately,” Taylor said. “This is because they cannot simulate the small overturning circulation in the atmosphere responsible for cloud formation and instead rely on complex approximations of these processes.”

The E3SM group developed an improved cloud-resolving atmosphere model named SCREAM, for Simple Cloud Resolving E3SM Atmosphere Model. “This next-generation program has the potential to substantially reduce major systematic errors in precipitation found in current models,” Taylor said, “because of its more realistic and explicit treatment of convective storms and the atmospheric motions responsible for cloud formation.”

Read the complete news release.

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