From the Program Manager: August 2021

  • August 24, 2021
  • Feature Story,Home Page Feature
  • Xujing Davis

    Xujing Davis, ESMD Program Manager, DOE BER

    I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe through this challenging time. Over the past few months, the Pacific Northwest experienced a record-setting heat wave and several cities in central China declared “red alerts” due to the devastating extreme flooding resulting from a year’s worth of rain falling in three days. The recently released first part of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report evaluates the rapidly changing climate and the large uncertainties of the current Earth system model projections. In a Livestream Roundtable Discussion on Climate hosted by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, E3SM BGC lead scientist Kate Calvin remarked that: “The climate is warming, and with increasing temperatures, there are consequences for people. We see increases in wildfires, flooding, droughts, and crop yields, and our energy system. So, we are continually working to improve these (Earth system) models and understand the effect on communities.”

    Just as Kate said, along with climate modelers over the globe, the E3SM science community continues to advance E3SM by pushing the high resolution frontier, by understanding the causes of model biases, and more accurately representing Earth system processes. In this newsletter, we are highlighting a few notable developments. At the high resolution frontier, E3SM scientists are pioneering a 1 km gridded E3SM Land Model (ELM) implementation over the North American region and preparing ELM for the next generation of high performance computing and GPU architectures. This is an exciting step as the outcome would enable E3SM to better represent the interactions between Earth and human systems and therefore inform policies and regional applications. A quantification of the occurrence of record hot years through normalized warming trends suggests that normalized temperature trends deserve more attention in understanding the occurrence of extreme hot events and should be incorporated in model development. A probe into the sensitivity of E3SM to the choice of an air-sea flux bulk parameterization identifies high sensitivity areas and sheds light on the type and magnitude of uncertainties under different flux schemes. The addition of a mesoscale heating parameterization to E3SMv1 provides improved Madden Julie Oscillation (MJO) representation. Convection trigger functions derived using a machine learning approach alleviate a global circulation model deficiency in overpredicting the occurrence of convection, offering a promising improvement to simulating the diurnal cycle of precipitation. Using a larger, more sophisticated set of climate and land ice models than ever before, researchers from 38 international groups examined the projected land ice contributions to 21st-century sea level rise. The team’s high-end estimates for sea level rise from land ice are more than twice as large as the ‘most likely’ estimate, largely due to substantial uncertainty in how warm ocean waters from beneath will erode the floating parts of Antarctica’s ice sheet. Together with some US and international modeling centers, DOE continues to support the CICE Consortium led by Elizabeth Hunke to accelerate model development for sea ice research and the adoption of those developments into operational codes at forecasting centers. In July, I hosted the CICE Sponsors Group discussion about the progress, plans, and challenges during the past years and next-step strategies.

    The freezing of the E3SM model version 2.0 marks a new chapter for the E3SM project, beginning with the Water Cycle group executing the v2 simulation campaign and the leadership team preparing and planning for Phase 3 of the project’s funding cycle. The 2021 Spring All-Hands Meeting summary includes links to v2 status updates and v3 planning provided by E3SM team leaders. To better support users of the E3SM model and data, a post-processing toolchain for E3SM written in Python called zppy was released, along with the latest suite of analysis tools: E3SM-Unified 1.5.0. The E3SM Infrastructure Group has added a new capability similar to a forum, but implemented by GitHub, called “Discussions” where we encourage users to post questions or seek advice about the model and help from the E3SM users community; please note that you must have a free GitHub account to post.

    The contribution of E3SM scientists has been recognized by the science community. E3SM’s Chief Scientist, L. Ruby Leung, will receive the 2022 American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Hydrologic Sciences Medal. Initial results from E3SM’s multi-scale modeling framework (MMF) paper led by Walter Hannah, was among AGU’s top 10% most downloaded papers in 2020. In addition, Hui Wan’s SciDAC work garnered attention. Congratulations!

    I also want to congratulate the recent recipients of DOE funding as well as ALCC time allocations! I sincerely appreciate all the researchers who submitted high-quality applications and expressed interest in E3SM development. Please do not be discouraged if you were not awarded this time and keep an eye on upcoming Funding Opportunity Announcements this fall.

    Around EESSD, I have been working with colleagues on several division-wide initiatives including the AI4ESP, Urban integrated field laboratories and Integrated Mountainous Hydro-Climate (IMHC). Given the multiscale, dynamic nature of the coastal environment, its complex terrain, and key relevance to the local community, coastal research remains a priority. A new project called COMPASS focusing on the Great Lake Region just kicked off this week and is complimentary to the ongoing ICOM (mid-Atlantic) and the InteRFACE (Arctic) projects. A new Puget Sound Scoping Study is also underway. More information will be shared when it is available.

    Don’t forget to check out recent E3SM presentations, publicity, and employment opportunities. Please consider submitting an abstract to the AMS session on “Security and Resilience Applications with Global Earth System Models” that will be convened by US climate modeling center representatives including E3SM scientists Dave Bader and Ruby Leung.

    Hope you enjoy the many updates from this issue and have a great start to the fall season. Please do not hesitate to contact me for anything.


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