Informed policy and decision-making related to the Arctic requires better understanding of this complex region. Achieving this understanding depends on not only increasing the amount of data available for analysis, but also improving existing Earth system models—efforts that call for a coordination across multiple disciplines.

What We Do

Sandia’s climate program built an established concentration in Arctic climate measurements, models, and studies, drawing on Sandia expertise in many areas. For example, our team has combined modeling capabilities and expertise in high performance computing with measurements to improve our understanding of complex natural processes. Also applicable to modeling of Arctic systems are capabilities rooted in Sandia’s work in nuclear weapons simulations and analysis:

  • Uncertainty quantification
  • Cross-cutting expertise in climate science, mathematical modeling, numerical analysis, and data acquisition
  • Data set management and data fusion techniques
  • Model development
  • Rigorous verification and validation protocols

Improved climate or systems models can provide stakeholders with projections, such as the probability of regional temperature or precipitation changes, which can then be applied to anticipate energy consumption demands, security concerns, infrastructure risks, and other community or sector-specific concerns.

Sandia is helping drive advances in higher resolution Arctic and regional models that incorporate full global inputs to enable robust and efficient regional model predictions.

Understanding Physical Processes in the Arctic

Revealing precipitation that is large enough to fall, this large eddy simulation enhances understanding of the physical processes in the Arctic cloud that determine its optical properties and lifetime—knowledge that can lead to more accurate atmospheric Earth systems predictions.
A global simulation indicating the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Simulations like this can be used to address science questions about Arctic storms, polar lows, and the energetics of storms hitting the Alaskan coast.