Earth and Environmental System Modeling (EESM)

The goal of Earth and Environmental System Modeling (EESM) is to simulate and understand DOE-relevant predictability of the Earth system, by describing processes and process interactions over multiple time and space scales.  EESM investments focus on model development, model analysis, and understanding the role of multi-sector interactions with the physical-human system.  The vision for EESM is to provide DOE with the best possible information about the evolving Earth system, so that, e.g., energy assets and infrastructures remain robust throughout their lifetimes.   Key examples of critical Earth system information supporting the DOE mission include projections of water availability, drought incidence and persistence, temperature extremes including prolonged heat stress, probability of storms, opening of the Arctic Ocean, and convolved sea level and storm-surge interactions with coastal regions. In order to provide this information, considerable effort is needed to develop optimal-fidelity Earth system simulations, with suitably-accurate representation of atmospheric dynamics, clouds and chemistry, ocean circulation and biogeochemistry, land biogeochemistry and hydrology, sea-ice and dynamic land-ice, and in each case including elements of human activities that affect these systems such as water management and land-use.

EESM utilizes the mathematical and computational expertise within the DOE-Laboratories, often in partnership with academia.  Together, Laboratory and University researchers coordinate and collaborate to produce more creative insights and innovations to explain complex phenomena, using e.g. efficient, accurate and advanced algorithms for Earth system processes; improved methods for model initialization; optimal component coupling and uncertainty of system simulation; and scale-aware climate projections.  A major goal is to optimize Earth system codes to run efficiently on DOE’s best-in-class high performance supercomputers, using modern and sustainable software and workflows, providing the Nation with a high-resolution coupled Earth system simulation capability available for energy and related sector requirements.

Central to the EESM Program is the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) project, launched by BER in 2014 and released for open scientific research in April 2018.  The E3SM project team is dedicated to development of a high-resolution Earth system model that efficiently runs at high-resolution on DOE high performance computers, simulating the near-term past (for model validation) and future (3-4 decades) in support of the DOE science and mission.  The E3SM project designs and performs high-resolution Earth system simulations, targeting the research community’s more challenging science questions, such as those involving water cycle science, cloud-aerosol interactions, ice sheet physics and dynamics, biogeochemical cycles, ocean eddy dynamics, and the interdependence of low frequency variability and extreme weather. Other activities supported by EESM complement and enhance E3SM, including the development of future-generation E3SM capabilities within the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) activity and supporting collaborative and community codes that are developed and used by multiple climate and weather groups.

Given that no single modeling approach can adequately represent all observed behaviors of the Earth system, EESM also invests in the use of hierarchical models ranging from the most complex high resolution climate models (such as E3SM) to super parametrized models using non-hydrostatic physics and land use sector models that incorporate changing landscapes.  EESM also utilizes idealized configurations of complex models and reduced complexity models for hypothesis testing.  Configuring, diagnosing, and evaluating the complex behavior of models through systematic comparison with available observations represents core capability investments that are critical to the Division’s strategy

The EESM Program contributes to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and coordinates its activities with modeling programs at other federal agencies, including National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Additional information about EESM is on the DOE Earth and Environmental System Modeling website.

Program Managers

Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, SC-33.1
Department of Energy, GTN Bldg.
1000 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20585-1290 

Dr. Xujing Davis
Phone: (301) 903-1678
Fax: (301) 903-8519

Dr. Renu R. Joseph
Phone: (301) 903-9237
Fax: (301) 903-8519

Mr. Robert W. Vallario
Phone: (301) 903-5758
Fax: (301) 903-8519