Simulating Regional Climate at Convection Permitting Resolution

PI Name: 
Greg Holland
PI Email:
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Allocation Program: 
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
13 Million
Research Domain: 
Earth Science

Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) are using the Nested Regional Climate Model (NRCM) on the ALCF’s Blue Gene/P to demonstrate the opportunities and challenges of simulating regional climate at sufficient resolution to resolve individual thunderstorm circulations.

The work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Willis Research Network and provides a thorough test of convection-permitting resolution on climate timescales with particular focus on high impact weather and climate. Analysis will focus on phenomena that have high sensitivity to model resolution, including water-snowpack assessments for the mid- and western U.S., wind energy assessments, and high-impact events such as winter storms and hurricanes. 
Thirteen million core-hours are being used on Intrepid, the ALCF Blue Gene/P system, to simulate both the record-breaking 2005 hurricane season and winter storms of 2005/2006, using 4 km grid spacing for a region covering the entire North Atlantic Basin and most of North America.
The experience gained at a resolution that is set to be the standard for the next generation of regional climate models represents an essential step towards our overarching goal to better quantify high-impact weather under climate variability and change. This will advance our understanding of Earth’s climate for national emergencies and broaden the community of researchers capable of using leadership computing resources.