Researchers began paving the way for efficient use of dedicated supercomputing facilities to enable higher resolution climate modeling with potentially large improvements in fidelity. 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.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 4: Synthesis: The Earth System from a Polar Perspective > WP 4.1: Current and Future Changes of the Earth System