Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Climate & Carbon Sciences Program Research Area:
Better models for robust climate projection

Our core modeling platform is the NCAR‑DOE Community Climate System Model (CCSM) including the Community Land Model (CLM).  CCSM is a fully coupled Earth system including components representing the physical, chemical, and biogeochemical evolution of the atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice.   We focus on processes important for climate change, especially abrupt climate change and climate extremes, and are developing considerable expertise in the advancement of multiscale (regional as well as global) climate projections . 

The hallmark of our work is that we are improving the physics and biogeochemistry in climate models to provide assessments more relevant to societal concerns. We also lead a multi-institutional collaboration developing new capabilities and new diagnostics representing the important processes that could trigger abrupt climate change.  Climate modeling at regional scales has emerged as a high priority in order to forecast the risks of localized weather phenomena such as hurricanes and intense rainstorms. Climate extremes result from physical and dynamical interactions spanning local to global scales that are missing from GCMs (Global Climate Models). To build model capacity for better projections we are developing:

  • new diagnostics of the onset of extremes to identify the primary causative factors
  • new stochastic model physics that more accurately represent the formative processes of rain and clouds
  • greater model fidelity to better resolve individual hydrological events

Our first objective is to identify metrics of climate extremes in order to assess capabilities of climate models to sufficiently simulate observed extreme events and the mechanisms that cause them. The next objective is to combine new computational representations of physical processes to produce models that can be self-consistently and continuously rescaled to resolve local to global hydrological interactions. Finally, we will use multiscale models to study the effects of hurricanes, rainstorms, and other weather extremes on future climate change.

Projects and Activities
  • IMPACTS (Investigation of the Magnitudes and Probabilities of Abrupt Climate TransitionS)
  • iESM (integrated Earth System Model)
  • Ultra High Resolution to Explore and Quantify Predictive Skill
  • Carbon-Climate Interactions group