Energy Awards $70 Million to Boost Supercomputer-Powered Earth Modeling System
Funding for seven projects will help improve the agency’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model that uses supercomputers to simulate climate change’s impact.
The Department of Energy announced on Tuesday that it is allocating $70 million in funding for seven research projects that will help speed up development of the agency’s climate prediction model, which uses advanced computing technology to analyze how the warming planet will impact the U.S. energy sector.
The agency’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model—known as E3SM—uses Energy’s laboratory resources to conduct climate simulations and predictions needed to “construct, maintain and advance an Earth system modeling capability,” according to the project’s website. The ES3M is run on exascale systems, like the Frontier supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, that are capable of solving calculations at millions of times the speed of most modern systems.
The department said in a press release that the seven research projects receiving funding “will improve the E3SM by, for example, advancing simulations of ocean circulation in the Atlantic and developing a framework for modeling Antarctic systems.” Three of the research projects will be conducted at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, three others will be conducted at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state, and the final project will be conducted at the University of New Mexico, according to Energy’s awards list.
“Being able to understand and predict what is happening in a system as complex as planet Earth is crucial to finding solutions to climate change,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “The projects announced today will give university and National Lab researchers deep insight into our oceans, our air, and our climate and into how emissions are impacting the world around us right now and in the future.”
The agency said that funding for the seven projects will total $70 million over a period of up to five years, with $14 million of that expected to be allocated in fiscal year 2022.
Earlier this month, Energy announced the allocation of $8 million in funding for 10 projects in “Earth and environmental system modeling research” to help drive E3SM’s development. The agency said that those projects will “focus on improved physics of clouds and aerosols in climate models and a more sophisticated treatment of high-resolution physical processes important for modes of climate variability.”
“These grants will ensure a strengthened scientific basis for generating more accurate predictions of climate change that must be well understood before making informed decisions,” Gerald Geernaert, Energy’s acting associate director for biological and environmental research, said after the previous round of research funding was announced on Aug. 18.