Modeling the local impact of global climate change

Sep 16, 2011 By Aaron Dubrow
A recent study of the Catalina Eddy performed by Kanamitsu. The figure shows the 3-hourly evolution of the eddy during two days. Kanamitsu discovered that the eddy disappears during 00Z and 03Z, which had never been reported before. This was due to the lack of high time-resolution observations. This kind of analysis is only possible using the dynamically downscaled analysis. Credit: Courtesy of Masao Kanamitsu, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," Bob Dylan famously sang. But if you want to know how it will blow tomorrow, odds are you're going to check the forecast.

Atmospheric prediction has improved immeasurably in the 45 years since Dylan sang "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Whether you're interested in tomorrow's high or the global heat index a decade from now, forecasters can now predict the climate with far greater accuracy.

The rise of powerful high-performance computers plays a large part in those improvements. Scientists isolate the factors that influence the weather--heat, radiation, the rotation of the Earth--transform them into mathematical formulas, and use supercomputers to forecast the atmosphere in all its complexity.

And yet, those forecasts are still painted with a fairly large brush. The global climate models--upon which all official predictions are based--have a resolution on the order of 62 miles (100 kilometers) per grid point. At that level of detail, storms appear as undifferentiated blobs, and towns in the mountains and the valley seem to experience identical weather.

"It's difficult to accurately examine how river flows have changed over the last 50 years, because one grid point may contain many rivers," said Masao Kanamitsu, a veteran of the atmospheric modeling world and a leading researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Making a weatherman

Kanamitsu knew he wanted to be a computational weather forecaster from the time he was a teenager in Japan in the 1960s. He worked his way through the world's most advanced centers, first in Japan, then in Europe, and most recently in the United States.

In the early to mid-1990s, Kanamitsu used Cray systems and Japan's to run global climate models. Today, he uses the Ranger supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, the second largest supercomputer in XSEDE. XSEDE is supported by NSF's eXtreme Digital program.

A demonstration of what dynamical downscaling can achieve. The center figure is the coarse resolution analysis used to force the high resolution model. The left figure is the output from Kanamitsu's downscaling which produces an eddy, or current. This eddy is famous in Southern California due to the very cloudy and cold weather during the May-June period. The right figure is the regional scale analysis performed by National Weather Service, which utilized local observations. Credit: Courtesy of Masao Kanamitsu, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Kanamitsu and his colleagues in the atmospheric community use a method called "downscaling" to improve regional predictions. The technique takes output from a global climate model and adds information--at scales smaller than the grid spacing--to resolve important features like clouds and mountains.

"You're given large-scale, coarse-resolution data, and you have to find a way to get the small-scale detail," Kanamitsu said.

Modeling California

Recently, Kanamitsu has been focusing on creating improved regional models for California, where small-scale weather patterns play a large role in the state's many microclimates. By integrating detailed information about the topography, vegetation, river flow and other factors into the subgrid of California, Kanamitsu has been able to achieve a resolution of 6 miles (10 kilometer) per grid point--a huge improvement over the normally accepted 62 mile (100 kilometer) per grid point.

Kanamitsu is also tackling the problem of connecting atmospheric conditions with ocean dynamics.

"Along the coast of California, there's a cold ocean that interacts with the atmosphere at very small scales," Kanamitsu said. "We're simulating the ocean currents and temperature in a high-resolution ocean model, coupled with a high-resolution atmospheric model, to find out the impact of these small-scale ocean states."

To combine all of those factors and get an answer in a short period of time requires very powerful and tightly connected supercomputers like Ranger. The results of Kanamitsu's simulations improved upon those currently in use by the National Weather Service.

Other applications

Other researchers in the community have already begun applying the downscaling results to fish population studies, river-flow changes and wind-energy applications.

"Kanamitsu's model simulations have enabled a much better resolved picture of the processes affecting wind flow and precipitation in the contemporary, historical period in California," said Scripps hydrometeorologist Daniel Cayan.

Over the course of his long career, Kanamitsu has clearly seen how improved computer modeling has changed his field--and the world.

"Thirty years ago, I was one of the forecasters," he said. "Every day, we took our computer model results to the meeting, but the forecaster in charge normally didn't look at or believe in our results. Now, forecasters believe in the models so much that some people think they're losing their skill."

As scientists seek to determine the local impact of change and address those changes, accurate historical records and sophisticated regional forecasts like those facilitated by Kanamitsu's work are becoming increasingly crucial.

Kanamitsu's research on the NSF-supported Ranger supercomputer is funded by NOAA and by the California Energy Commission.

Explore further: A 5.3-million-year record of sea level and temperature

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R2Bacca
4 / 5 (4) Sep 16, 2011
The title is a bit misleading... any mention of "Global Climate Change" was held off until the second-to-last paragraph and even then it was a tentative and more or less editorial link between Kanamitsu's work and GCC.

I fail to see the link between forecasting with a computer model and GCC. There is absolutely no way to model what the weather will be on a future day that fits with the timescales you are dealing with (30 years) with any sort of change in climate. Anyone who has ever used computer models to attempt to predict the path of even a large-scale weather event such as a hurricane will tell you that you can't predict the path of a hurricane through a certain area with any accuracy until you are within 24-48 hours. 10 days? 30 days? a year or more? I think not.
omatumr
1.1 / 5 (7) Sep 16, 2011
The title is a bit misleading... any mention of "Global Climate Change" was held off until the second-to-last paragraph and even then it was a tentative and more or less editorial link between Kanamitsu's work and GCC.

I fail to see the link between forecasting with a computer model and GCC. There is absolutely no way to model what the weather will be on a future day that fits with the timescales you are dealing with (30 years) with any sort of change in climate. Anyone who has ever used computer models to attempt to predict the path of even a large-scale weather event such as a hurricane will tell you that you can't predict the path of a hurricane through a certain area with any accuracy until you are within 24-48 hours. 10 days? 30 days? a year or more? I think not.


I agree.

Regretfully,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
jamesrm
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2011
http://mominer.ms...hildren/

dr oliver manuel arrested for multiple counts of rape and sodomy of his children
Doom1974
5 / 5 (1) Sep 16, 2011
You don't think the right way R2Bacca. At different time scales different phenomena are important for predictions. I hope you have heard of "coarse graining" otherwise I suggest you look it up. The ability to empirically model scales below the ones that we are trying to resolve has allowed scientists to develop models that would otherwise be considered intractable. Take for example protein folding, diffusion of molecules within disordered nanopores You might find that a laughable argument, but the coarse graining for those models spans many more orders of magnitude in length and time than the weather and climate models. Same goes for fluidized beds of catalyst particles (compare microns for the size of the particles with ten of meters for the size of the commercial vessels. However with computational fluid dynamics we can predict the macroscopic behavior of those systems without modeling accurately how particles move and collide with each other and form "clouds" of particles.
RealScience
5 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2011
R2Bacca - you are correct about the title, but do you REALLY think that climate modellers are claiming to, or even trying to, predict the weather on a GIVEN DAY 30 years from now?
If you realize that modellers are trying to predict the climate rather than the weather, then your comment is disingenuous.
If you don't know the difference between predicting overall climate and weather on a given day, then I'll bet you that in New York City January 20, 2013 is colder than July 20, 2013, a prediction more than a year away. I'll even give you 10 to 1 odds!
But I won't bet whether or not it is raining or clear on July 20.
See the difference?

omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2011
I fail to see the link between forecasting with a computer model and GCC.


Until GCC proponents can predict events like this solar flare,

www.physorg.com/n...res.html

There is no scientific link between forecasting with a computer model and GCC.

Earth is connected gravitationally, magnetically and electrically to its heat source [1] - the violently unstable core of the Sun.

Solar eruptions are examples of erratic energy transfer from the solar core [2].

References:

1. "Neutron repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1

2. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate", Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002)

http://arxiv.org/.../0501441
Ethelred
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 17, 2011
After weeks of Oliver attacking Kissinger, Nixon, Chou en Lai, Mao and EVERY President since then Oliver posted a link to 'evidence' in the form of a letter from Kissinger to Nixon.

[1] Henry Kissingers summary of events of 9-11 July 2011 were declassified in 2003]

http://www.gwu.ed...h-40.pdf


I am pleased that Oliver linked to that letter without reading it. If he read it he would not have linked to it.

After reading the PDF of what Kissinger wrote to Nixon, yes all of it, it is quite clear that Oliver did not read it. It does not support his nonsense in any way what so ever. It pretty much fits my memory of what was going on at the time. The only real surprise was that the Chinese were worried that we would allow the Japanese to put troops in Taiwan and the Sino-Indian War was mentioned. I didn't really remember that war as I was only ten at the time.

There was not one single word about environmental issue of any kind.

Heck Kissinger didn't even meet Mao.

Ethelred
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2011
He forgot to bait his hook, but still got a nibble.
omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2011
International agreements among world leaders in the early 1970s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F ile:Kissinger_Mao.jpg

1. Assumed the validity of the
a.) Bilderberg Sun as a stable heat source, and
b.) Earth-centered model of global climate change

2. And agreed to work together to
c.) Unite nations
d.) Avoid nuclear war
e.) End the space race
f.) Stop global climate change [1]

Experimental measurements [2] falsify assumptions (a) and (b)

1. "Deep Roots of Climategate" (2011)
http://dl.dropbox...oots.pdf

2. "Neutron Repulsion", The
APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011);
http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1

http://dl.dropbox...oots.doc
Ethelred
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2011
Do you have a shred of evidence besides the voices in your head to support this claim Oliver?

Have you read the letter you linked to? Why did you post it?

If you can't answer these questions Oliver I will have no choice but to think you just another spammer and start hitting the Report Abuse button. Responding to questions with the same crap is not a response and on many science sites is grounds for banning. Indeed YOU have been banned that way.

Time for another banning if you refuse to engage in reasoned discourse.

Ethelred
omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2011
Earth's climate is controlled by Earth's heat source - the violently unstable Sun [1-5]

1. NASA News (19 Sept 2011) "The secret lives of solar flares

http://science.na...etlives/

2. "Neutron repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1

3. "Origin and Evolution of Life Constraints on the Solar Model", Journal of Modern Physics 2, 587-594 (2011)

http://dl.dropbox...5079.pdf

4. "Earth's Heat Source - The Sun", Energy and Environment 20, 131-144 (2009)

http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

5. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate", Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002):

http://arxiv.org/.../0501441

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2011
Ethelred may choose to address:

_A_. Recent observations:

1. "Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate," WIREs Climate Change 1 (Jan/Feb 2010) 111122

_-_by NRL's Dr. Judith Lean,

www.agci.org/docs/lean.pdf

2. NASA, "Solar Flare Secrets":

http://science.na...etlives/

_B_. Observations ignored earlier:

3. "Long-Range Forecast of U.S. Drought Based on Solar Activity"
_-_by the late-Dr. Theodor Landscheidt

www.john-daly.com...ught.htm

4. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate", Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002)

http://arxiv.org/.../0501441

_C_. Try to ban reasoned discourse here.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09

William Shakespeare: "All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances."
Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2011
Ethelred may choose to address:
Sure Oliver. As soon as you address my question instead of pretending they were never asked. Extreme hypocrisy like that post is typical of Cranks.

_C_. Try to ban reasoned discourse here.
You aren't engaged in reason or discourse so can the nonsense.

Try answering questions then you will be engaging in discourse. Lying that you are doing so is not quite the same as actually doing so.

Since you seem to need to see the questions you have been ignoring AND want to see me deal with your rubbish here the questions you must address first as I have been asking them for years now and you have been to answer.

Have you read the letter you linked to? Why did you post it?

Where is the evidence that neutrons repel each other in a way that is different from the Pauli Exclusion Principle?

More
Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2011
Where is someone, someone remotely competent as opposed to the South African geologist, that supports your idea that the Sun is a pulsar? And how can a pulsar form IF there is such a thing as neutron repulsion?

How could degenerate matter form with that going on considering your contradictory claim that neutron repulsion makes Black Holes impossible despite the math not working for you at all? IF neutron repulsion stops Black Holes of all kinds forming no matter what the mass involved, as you have claimed many times, THEN the neutronium core of Neutron Stars CANNOT form due to that repulsion.

Now since I have been asking that for quite a while now AND you think you have the right to ask questions of me it is time answered mine.

ANSWER the questions Oliver.

Ethelred

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