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February 26, 2013

"European climate community adopts Argonne's Modeling Coupling Toolkit"

The fifth phase of the internationally coordinated Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) has produced an enormous number of climate and Earth system model simulations to help scientists understand climate change and variability. The Model Coupling Toolkit (MCT) developed at Argonne National Laboratory is used as the foundation coupling software, called cpl7, in the Community Earth System Model (CESM), one of the biggest contributors to CMIP5.

The coupling software in an Earth system model, sometimes just called the coupler, comprises all the software used to make the models of the ocean, atmosphere, land surface and sea ice “talk” to each other and simulate one system. “It is important that coupling software perform well on high-performance, massively parallel computers and that the software can be easily integrated in a climate model,” said Argonne computational climate scientist and MCT co-developer Robert Jacob. “MCT has been very successful in both areas.”

One coupler, OASIS3, has been used by five of seven European-developed climate models contributing to CMIP5. OASIS developers recently announced a new version of their software that includes MCT. “The European climate community is just now trying to run their models on machines with thousands of processors,” Jacob said. “MCT is well suited to the communication needs of those machines."

A recent special issue of the journal Geoscientific Model Development was devoted to community software to support the delivery of CMIP5. Jacob was one of the contributors to an article in the special issue titled “Coupling Technologies for Earth System Modelling.”

MCT, cpl7 and OASIS3-MCT also will be topics of discussion at the Second Workshop on Coupling Technologies for Earth System Models taking place February 20–22, 2013, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Results from CMIP5 will inform the upcoming fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.



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