Project Description

The Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) focused on the development of a high-resolution, high-performance, global Earth system model (ESM) for application to nearterm (2015-2050), DOE-mission-relevant climate and energy problems. The ability to run coupled, high-resolution, global simulations efficiently on large, high-performance computers – a priority for E3SM – is partly achieved through the use of variable-resolution components (e.g., Ringler et al., 2013a) (Figure 1). This proposal is aligned with the E3SM Phase Two1 science goals, in particular those of the cryosphere science campaign, which focuses on the broad question of “How rapid changes in cryosphere-ocean systems interact with the climate system?”. This includes a specific focus on the potential for rapid sea-level rise as a result of Antarctic ice sheet destabilization, following the degradation and collapse of fringing ice shelves that “buttress” the flux of ice from the continent to the surrounding oceans. The primary control on ice shelf integrity is submarine melting, which is impacted by a complex set of coupled-climate processes – influenced by ocean circulation, sea ice cover, icebergs, ocean vertical mixing – that control the delivery of warm, deep ocean water to Antarctic sub- ce shelf cavities. Ongoing and future E3SM development is also aligned with these science goals. New model features are prioritized in order to improve the representation of the relevant physical processes and E3SM now includes many new capabilities for studying the cryosphere-ocean system. This, along with the variable-resolution mesh of all components, puts the DOE in a unique position to address elevant questions like (1) How does natural climate variability influence sub-ice shelf melt rates? (2) How will various emissions scenarios alter this melt rate distribution in the future? (3) What are the resulting impacts on ice sheet dynamics and sea-level rise? The simulations described in this proposal directly contribute to the E3SM cryosphere-ocean science question. The simulation plan includes a number of new developments and capabilities such as explicit treatment of icebergs, Lagrangian particles, improved vertical mixing schemes, and the inclusion of ocean circulation in sub-ice shelf cavities. This study will be used to validate and improve these processes, while providing insights to scientific questions relevant to the DOE’s mission.

Allocation History

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