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Modeling the Climate System: Global approaches for understanding regional climate and extreme weather

Student-Run Applied & Math Seminar

Speaker: Paul Ullrich, UC Davis (Dept. of Land, Air and Water Resources)
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Oct 29 2012, 12:10PM

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on extreme weather has indicated that the changing global climate likely lead to increased outbreaks of extreme weather across the globe. In particular, 2011 saw a record number of weather-related disasters, with widespread flooding, drought and fires raging across the United States. However, the question of how changes in extreme weather will manifest is largely unanswered. Many of these extreme weather phenomena are strongly tied to regional climate, which is poorly captured by long-term global climate runs. The advent of modern massively parallel computation has opened up new avenues for climate research and is driving researchers in atmospheric science towards building climate models which are scalable to hundreds of thousands of processors. Consequently, in the next decade we will have a powerful toolset for studying the feedbacks between global and regional climate and answering many outstanding questions about the interaction of scales in the atmosphere. This talk will focus on recent efforts towards developing a true multi-resolution framework for modeling regional climate in a global domain. In particular, I will present ongoing work on the high-order MCore atmospheric general circulation model, which has been designed for massively parallel systems and with a focus on using mesh refinement to seamlessly tie together regional and global scales. These efforts will be presented, along with a look at some upcoming approaches to numerical modeling using finite-volume and finite-element methods on the sphere.