Revolutionizing Climate Modeling with Project Athena: A Multi-Institutional, International Collaboration

J. L. Kinter III Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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B. Cash Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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D. Achuthavarier Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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J. Adams Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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E. Altshuler Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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P. Dirmeyer Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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B. Doty Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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B. Huang Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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E. K. Jin Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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L. Marx Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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J. Manganello Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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C. Stan Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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T. Wakefield Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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T. Palmer European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom

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M. Hamrud European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom

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T. Jung European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom

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M. Miller European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom

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P. Towers European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom

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N. Wedi European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom

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M. Satoh Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

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H. Tomita RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Sciences, Kobe, Japan

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C. Kodama Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan

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T. Nasuno Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan

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K. Oouchi Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan

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Y. Yamada Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan

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H. Taniguchi International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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P. Andrews National Institute of Computational Sciences, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

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T. Baer National Institute of Computational Sciences, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

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K. Wong National Institute of Computational Sciences, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

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The importance of using dedicated high-end computing resources to enable high spatial resolution in global climate models and advance knowledge of the climate system has been evaluated in an international collaboration called Project Athena. Inspired by the World Modeling Summit of 2008 and made possible by the availability of dedicated high-end computing resources provided by the National Science Foundation from October 2009 through March 2010, Project Athena demonstrated the sensitivity of climate simulations to spatial resolution and to the representation of subgrid-scale processes with horizontal resolutions up to 10 times higher than contemporary climate models. While many aspects of the mean climate were found to be reassuringly similar, beyond a suggested minimum resolution, the magnitudes and structure of regional effects can differ substantially. Project Athena served as a pilot project to demonstrate that an effective international collaboration can be formed to efficiently exploit dedicated supercomputing resources. The outcomes to date suggest that, in addition to substantial and dedicated computing resources, future climate modeling and prediction require a substantial research effort to efficiently explore the fidelity of climate models when explicitly resolving important atmospheric and oceanic processes.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: James L. Kinter III, Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Institute of Global Environment and Society, 4041 Powder Mill Road, Suite 302, Calverton, MD 20705-3109, E-mail: kinter@cola.iges.org

The importance of using dedicated high-end computing resources to enable high spatial resolution in global climate models and advance knowledge of the climate system has been evaluated in an international collaboration called Project Athena. Inspired by the World Modeling Summit of 2008 and made possible by the availability of dedicated high-end computing resources provided by the National Science Foundation from October 2009 through March 2010, Project Athena demonstrated the sensitivity of climate simulations to spatial resolution and to the representation of subgrid-scale processes with horizontal resolutions up to 10 times higher than contemporary climate models. While many aspects of the mean climate were found to be reassuringly similar, beyond a suggested minimum resolution, the magnitudes and structure of regional effects can differ substantially. Project Athena served as a pilot project to demonstrate that an effective international collaboration can be formed to efficiently exploit dedicated supercomputing resources. The outcomes to date suggest that, in addition to substantial and dedicated computing resources, future climate modeling and prediction require a substantial research effort to efficiently explore the fidelity of climate models when explicitly resolving important atmospheric and oceanic processes.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: James L. Kinter III, Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Institute of Global Environment and Society, 4041 Powder Mill Road, Suite 302, Calverton, MD 20705-3109, E-mail: kinter@cola.iges.org
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