Evaluating and improving our climate models is one of the four major thrusts of the CASCADE Scientific Focus Area (SFA) at LBNL. Climate extremes–such as hurricanes, major floods, and heat waves–not only stress society, they push the bounds of what modern climate models can simulate.
While extreme weather events often have impacts at relatively small (city-wide) scales, they are often driven by planetary scale forces. Simulating these events requires models with high fidelity at a wide range of scales. The CASCADE SFA is making novel use of self-similarity* in the atmosphere to define new standards for how model performance should change as model scale changes from ‘city’ to ‘planetary’. The CASCADE team is using the Department of Energy’s new Accelerated Climate Model for Energy (ACME) to simulate past weather and is using these new standards to evaluate the model. Through a tight collaboration with ACME developers, these insights are being translated in to improved model fidelity at a wide range of scales.
*self-similarity means that the statistics of the atmosphere change predictably depending on the scale at which the statistics are evaluated