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    EARTH SYSTEMS SCIENCE | Contents | Next

    ESS Efforts Support Modeling,
    Atmospheric Chemistry, and Biodiversity

    THRUST AREA LEADER
    Jean-Bernard Minster, Professor, Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

    Within NPACI's Earth Systems Science thrust area, researchers across the country are looking at the Earth's oceans and atmospheres--both in local close-ups and global perspective. Some researchers take details from local close-up simulations to improve global models. Still other researchers seek to use insights gained from global studies to increase the accuracy of regional and local simulations. NPACI projects are studying bays and estuaries, the oceans and atmosphere, and data from museums, satellites, and the environment.

    "In a word, our focus is on scale," said Bernard Minster, professor of Geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NPACI's Earth Systems Science thrust area leader. "There are projects that look at global, regional, and local scales--spanning five orders of magnitude in space--as well as different time scales. Global studies can operate over decades, while local simulations work in terms of minutes."

    The Earth's complexity makes a single global, high-resolution simulation not only difficult to compute, but also difficult to build. Instead, the Earth Systems Science thrust is applying the NPACI infrastructure to link simulations at different scales. Global-scale data provide input to regional and local simulations, and chemical simulations feed into air and water movement simulations.

    This issue of enVision describes projects on remote sensing, coastal data collection and visualization, and multi-scale, multi-resolution modeling in greater detail, but the thrust area also includes other projects, which are briefly mentioned here.

    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY

    OCEANIC MODELING

    BAY AND ESTUARY SIMULATION

    BIOLOGICAL-SCALE PROCESS MODELING

    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY

    Donald Dabdub at UC Irvine focuses on atmospheric chemistry simulations, and within NPACI, he will work to integrate atmospheric models into climate or regional and local weather models in collaboration with the Globus and Legion projects of the Metasystems thrust area. The primary focus of this work will be on atmospheric chemistry and air quality models of aerosols and particulate hazards. The integration will also explore using a cluster or workstations as well as conventional massively parallel computers.

    OCEANIC MODELING

    Carl Wunsch at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is studying ocean circulation and climate models (see p. 16). This project explores ocean data to determine the general circulation of the ocean on a global, continuous basis. Wunsch's group at MIT has developed a nearly complete system for global data assimilation and analysis. Their studies will be used to understand, in particular, oceanic heat and fresh water fluxes, and their dynamic causes and effects, as well as a variety of related issues connecting ocean circulation to climate changes.


    In a word, our focus is on scale. Projects are looking at global, regional, and local scales--spanning five orders of magnitude in space--as well as different time scales.

    Jean-Bernard Minster,
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

     


    BAY AND ESTUARY SIMULATION

    Led by Mary Wheeler at the University of Texas at Austin, a group at the Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics (TICAM) is integrating models of bays and estuaries with the Active Data Repository at the University of Maryland (see the April-June 1998 enVision). In this application, they are linking complementary simulations of the same environment, in particular, a water flow simulator (UTBEST) and a chemical transport simulator (CE-QUAL-ICM) to model pollutant transport in bays and estuaries. Because such simulators are often developed in isolation, connecting them gives rise to a number of issues. The ADR is providing the data-intensive infrastructure to make the connection. In the longer run, Wheeler's team plans to integrate the models with a metasystem environment.

    BIOLOGICAL-SCALE PROCESS MODELING

    Another scale to consider in Earth systems modeling is that of biodiversity and ecosystem analysis, the distribution of species throughout a local, regional, or global area. Led by Leonard Krishtalka at the University of Kansas and involving SDSC and Robert Waide of the Long-term Ecological Research Network (LTERnet) at the University of New Mexico, the project will achieve biological-scale process modeling by integrating biodiversity data from museum collections, abiotic data, and predictive species modeling with ecological and ecosystem parameters and modeling, such as primary productivity and factors affecting soil biodiversity. The results, in turn, will be integrated into the overall thrust area activities. The organizing principle of this activity will be to quantify biodiversity and its ecosystem function. --DH