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PSD Researchers Receive DOE INCITE Award

January 9, 2007

Gilbert Compo, Jeffrey Whitaker, and Prashant Sardeshmukh, researchers at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory's Physical Sciences Division, and the University of Colorado's CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, have received a computing award from the Department of Energy's 2007 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) Program. The recipients will receive an allocation of 2,000,000 processor hours on high performance computers at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) center of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, for the period January 9, 2007 – January 8, 2008. Compo, et al. propose to use a data assimilation method they developed along with a new database of station and sea level pressure observations in order to produce, for the first time, a reanalysis data set of a century or longer.

Over the past several years, these researchers have developed a unique capability to produce high-quality six-hourly reanalyses for the troposphere from surface pressure observations alone using a data assimilation system. In a series of peer-reviewed journal articles, the researchers established the feasibility of producing a reanalysis dataset from the 1890s to present. A pilot reanalysis was conducted to determine whether previous feasibility conclusions were realistic and justified producing a century-long reanalysis dataset at this time.

It is hoped that these longer reanalysis datasets will enable researchers to address issues such as the range of natural variability of extreme events (e.g., floods, droughts, hurricanes, extratropical cyclones, and cold waves) and how El Nino/Southern Oscillation and other climate modes alter these events. A century-long reanalysis will also help understand the climate variations that gave rise to early 20th century climate-related decisions, such as the prolonged wet period in central North America that led to overestimates of precipitation and overallocation of water resources in the Colorado River basin (CCSP 2006). The proposed 20th Century reanalysis project represents the first step towards meeting these challenges. This research supports NOAA's mission goal of understanding climate variability and change to enhance society's ability to plan and respond.

Contact: Gilbert Compo More Information: