Department of Energy

Department of Energy Announces $10 Million for Earth System Model Development and Analysis

July 30, 2018

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DOE Model Leverages Supercomputer Capabilities at National Laboratories

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $10 million in funding for 13 projects aimed at further enhancing one of the world’s most sophisticated computer models for understanding weather and climate patterns. 

The DOE-supported Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) seeks to provide more accurate and higher-resolution representation of weather and climate events by taking advantage of the cutting-edge supercomputing facilities at DOE National Laboratories. 

“Modeling the Earth system in all its complexity represents an enormous challenge,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  “The supercomputers at DOE National Laboratories are playing a critical role in this effort—a role that will grow in importance as we move into the era of next-generation exascale computing.”

The new projects are aimed at improving representation of oceans, atmosphere, and clouds, as well as simulation of extreme weather events such as intense precipitation, tropical cyclones, and monsoons.  There is also a focus on longer-term processes, such as the so-called Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a recurring pattern of ocean and atmosphere interaction that occurs over decades in the Pacific.

Projects involve analysis of how well models represent natural process, and where they can be improved by comparing the model with observations and development of new software designed to better simulate the processes in question. Some projects will analyze E3SM in light of the way other major models simulate certain processes and events.

E3SM is run at the three major high-performance computing centers at DOE National Laboratories: the National Energy Research Science Computing center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Leadership Computing Centers at Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, respectively.

Work is also underway to adapt the model to run on the coming generation of exascale computers, capable of a billion-billion calculations per second, scheduled to begin deployment at DOE National Laboratories in 2021.

The current analysis and development projects were chosen by competitive peer review under one DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement within the Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the Department’s Office of Science.

Funding totals $10 million for projects lasting three years in duration. The full list of projects can be found HERE.