Shian-Jiann Lin

(Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab)

"Dogmas and folklores in regional weather and global climate modeling"

What GR Homepage Meteo Colloquium UG
When Mar 30, 2016
from 03:30 pm to 04:30 pm
Where 112 Walker
Contact Name Fuqing Zhang
Contact email
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Shian-Jiann Lin

The linkage between Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) and climate modeling existed since the 60s when the "Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory" (GFDL), a predominantly climate modeling center, was formed owing to the success of the first experimental NWP led by pioneers such as von Neumann, Charney, and many others, including the GFDL founding father Joe Smagorinsky, at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies. Smagorinsky's vision was that "the increasing power of computers would allow one to move beyond simulating the evolution of the atmosphere for a few days, as in weather prediction, and move toward the simulation of the Earth's climate". Climate modeling, that emphasizes robustness of the "weather statistics", has underwent significant transformation since that time, including advancements in dynamical and physical processes that were beyond reach just a decade ago. While global climate models are highly diversified (partially due to the need for IPCC ensembles), Regional NWP developments in the US during past few decades, on the other hand, take on a different philosophy. In particular, there is what I called a "C-grid superiority complex" that may have hindered the advancement of "meso-scale" model since the 90s, with effectively a single model 
dominates the mesoscale NWP research.

Different priorities naturally led to different paths. With resolution of global models now approaching cloud-resolving, and the "globalization" of the regional NWP model, NWP and climate modeling are now on a collision course from two opposite ends of the spectrum. The urgency of the US "global" NWP catching up with the extremely successful European effort at least partially motivated the Next Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS) project at the National Weather Service, with participation from five US modeling centers (phase-1). The NGGPS project highlighted the sharp contrast between various modeling philosophies, inside and outside of scientific context (e.g., via popular blogs). In this presentation, I will discuss the struggles in the design of the numerical modeling framework, for overcoming various "dogmas" and "folklores" that are suppressing innovations in both communities, in an effort to unify both regional and global models, for both weather and climate applications.