W14: Challenges in Earth System Modelling: Approaches and Applications

Workshop Organising Committee:

Will Steffen, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Bob Oglesby, University of Nebraska, Lincoln NE USA Dave Erickson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge TN USA

Aim and Scope:

Earth system modeling has taken on increasing importance over the past several years. These models are being used to address an increasing number of environmental and global change problems of societal concern. Perhaps most commonly known is the application to possible greenhouse-gas induced warming. Other compelling problems include the climatic effects of land use changes, aerosols (including sulfate emissions, and smoke from biomass burning), changing trace gas fluxes, interactions and feedbacks with the global carbon cycle and the impacts of changing nutrient fluxes to Earths ecosystems.While originally based on general circulation models of the atmospheric component of climate, over the years the models have expanded to include oceanic circulation, land and sea ice, the full biosphere, atmospheric chemistry, and biogeochemical cycles (such as carbon).

These models attempt to simulate the full complexity of natural systems, which includes the rendering of many interconnected physical processes that range across orders of magnitude in temporal and spatial scale. This poses a massive challenge in structural modeling in how to incorporate all the relevant processes, in developing a computer code that has appropriate numerical capabilities, and in obtaining computational resources sufficient to make the many required model runs at the necessary resolution in time and space. Satisfactory solutions for all of these remain to be found. But these are hardly all the challenges. These models produce voluminous output, which if nothing else tax data storage and processing systems. But since the models also try to capture the full complexity of natural systems, interpreting the many feedbacks and interplays is essentially as difficult as understanding them in the real earth system using real observations. Indeed, among other tasks, these models are used to fill in massive gaps in our observational network, as well as understanding of the key physics involved. The above are primarily scientific and numerical engineering issues. Perhaps the most important problem, however, is how to use the model results to understand and help to solve real issues that is, how to apply the results in a manner that will help stakeholders address their problems. This can be posed as how to employ the model results both direct, quantitative output, and the qualitative understandings obtained from them, into Decision Support Systems (DSS).

In this workshop, on Challenges in Earth System Modelling: Approaches and Applications we aim to bring together model developers, experienced users of earth system models, along interested potential users, and especially persons interested in the application or implication of model results, especially, but not restricted to, integration of these models within DSS frameworks. Our hope is to move beyond mere presentation of individual projects and results, and have a truly interactive dialog between all of these interested parties.

Topics of interest

Abstracts are solicited on any facet of earth system models and their applications, including, but not restricted to:
  1. model development, including making and refining simulation of key physical processes and numerical developments needed to run the models on current and planned future computer systems
  2. application of earth system models to any relevant scientific question of global change including feedbacks in the integrated biogeochemical-physical climate system
  3. methodologies for employing output from earth system models into DSS
  4. integrated earth system model DSS (or other) application to problems of societal interest

Position Paper

David Erickson, Robert Oglesby, Scott Elliott, Will Steffen Challenges in Earth System Modelling: Approaches and Applications


Robert Oglesby, David Erickson, Daniel Irwin, Tom Sever Human-induced Land Use Changes: What can Earth System Models Tell Us About Climatic Implications?
David Erickson, Robert Oglesby, Scott Elliott, Forrest Hoffman, Forrest Hoffman Peta-scale climate modeling: Biogeochemical and financial feedbacks
Forrest Hoffman, Inez Fung, W. Mac Post, David Erickson Recent Results From Coupled Climate/Carbon-Cycle Models in CCSM3