September 8, 2008

Under Secretary Lautenbacher,

I am pleased to be here today to sign this Memorandum of Understanding enabling the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration collaboratively to turn the awesome power of High Performance Computing toward a better understanding of the world’s weather and climate. Over the past five years, the DOE Office of Science has invested time, energy and financial resources to attain world leadership in open-science high performance computing. These investments have paid off in diverse fields: understanding of the nature of matter and of the origins of the universe; modeling complex systems, such as airframes and jet engines, for energy efficiency; and, remarkably, increasing our knowledge and opening potential new treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

We have had an informal relationship with NOAA for some time, resulting in high-resolution models that reproduce interannual variability in Atlantic hurricane frequency, and elucidate the processes by which sea surface temperature and vertical wind shear modulate hurricane activity. Today’s signing formalizes and extends our existing relationship with NOAA into a partnership of immense importance to both agencies, and to our nation. The scope of this MOU includes prediction of long term climate change, as well as the behavior of tropical storms and hurricanes in order to protect life and property and the Nation’s energy infrastructure.

I have already released time from my reserve to the Princeton Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory to begin work under this MOU. In addition, this MOU provides NOAA researchers with a large number of CPU hours on our world-class computing facilities at Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. We will also work with NOAA researchers to develop the most efficient use of these resources, including optimization and scaling of NOAA’s computer codes to take advantage of DOE’s computing resources. As stated in the MOU, cooperation between NOAA and the Office of Science will be based on the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. INCITE was conceived to seek out computationally intensive, large-scale research projects with the potential to significantly advance key areas in science and engineering. It is our hope that through this cooperation NOAA projects will continue to successfully compete for yet larger multi-year INCITE allocations.

I would like to take a moment to thank Under Secretary Lautenbacher and his staff, and my staff, including Director of Advance Scientific Computing Research, Dr. Michael Strayer, and Director of Biological and Environmental Research, Dr. Anna Palmisano, for their hard work in bringing this MOU into existence. By coming together, the research covered under this MOU will advance the state of knowledge of the Earth’s natural systems, and improve our predictive capability for long term regional and global climate change that separately our Agencies could not accomplish.