DOE Scientists Make Substantial Contributions to New Community Earth System Model


A challenge for the development and use of climate models is to accurately represent the diverse processes that affect and contribute to climate. The Community Earth System Model (CESM), a fully-coupled, global climate model that provides state-of-the-art computer simulations of the Earth’s past, present, and future climate states, has just been released on June 25th, 2010. While CESM supersedes its predecessor, the community climate system model (CCSM4), the CESM has the advantage of being able to run all CCSM4 numerical experiments while using a new architecture that also permits a “plug and play” capability. CESM is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and National Science Foundation (NSF). The most notable contributions from DOE scientists were the successful development of a new sea ice sub-model, a new land-ice model, several physical formulation improvements to the global ocean sub-model, a new detailed atmospheric chemistry model a new radiation package, a new aerosol sub-model, and two new cloud schemes for more accurate representation of near-surface layered clouds, cloud formations leading to precipitation, and lifecycle of cirrus clouds. These improvements should lead to a better understanding of climate processes at both regional and global scales.