Water Cycle

E3SM Water Cycle Science Questions

The water cycle research and experiments examine the hydrological cycle and its sensitivity to model resolution and forcing. They address the science questions depicted in the table above. Progressively with time, the project will tackle more challenging questions.


The v1 science questions investigate sensitivity of water cycle processes to model resolution and different forcings. In v2, there will be a stronger regional focus on understanding the response of water cycle  in North America to global and regional forcings. The shift to a more regional focus in v2 is driven by the desire to more explicitly address DOE’s need in understanding changes in water cycle affecting U.S. energy-sector decisions. The representations of some important processes would still be inadequate or missing in the v2 model. Hence in v3/v4, the science questions will build on and extend from the v1/v2 questions to address major uncertainties in predicting future changes in water cycle. This motivates significant model development to address processes that are poorly represented (e.g., organized convection) .


Progressing through four versions of E3SM, the science questions, summarized in the table above, will be addressed by optimizing the use of higher resolution, increasing complexity, and larger ensemble size with the project’s exascale computational strategy  to improve predictions of future changes in water cycle systems that challenge energy production and use.



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