Though the CCSM is often referred to as an NCAR-based endeavor, there’s more to the story. The model receives a significant amount of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. A number of scientists from DOE labs participate in CCSM development and sit on the model’s 11 working groups, each of which is typically co-chaired by one scientist from NCAR and one from a university or federal lab.
DOE funds a wide range of other climate modeling efforts apart from CCSM, but its long-time support and provision of computing resources for CCSM have been critical in the model’s evolution, says NCAR’s Peter Gent. Major CCSM simulations have been carried out over the last few years at DOE’s national laboratories at Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Los Alamos, as well as the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center operated by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This access to DOE hardware is an important complement to the Climate System Laboratory (CSL), the NCAR-based facility devoted to large-scale simulations that can take weeks to produce.
“If we didn’t have DOE computer time, the CSL time we have would be severely inadequate,” says Gent. “They’re both important.”