The importance of GRID computing in the investigation of climate

Climate change is unequivocal, as is evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level (IPCC, 2007). Since climate change is concerned with important societal issues, it is very important to assess impacts of climate change already underway and address adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerability and risks of climate change.

Climate models use mathematics and the laws of physics to simulate the interactions of the basic components of the climate system. Differential equations are used to relate fundamental physical quantities (e.g. temperature, pressure, wind etc) to each other.  Each equation is solved at discrete grid points on the earth’s surface, at a fixed time interval (time-step) and several vertical layers, defined by the regular three-dimensional grid. Horizontal resolutions of global climate models range between 100-200 Km while of regional climate models from 10 to 50 Km.

In the Department of Meteorology and Climatology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki high resolution (10 Km) transient (1961-2050) climatic simulations were performed over South Eastern Europe with the regional climate model RegCM3 (http://gforge.ictp.it/gf/project/regcm/) using the HellasGrid resources within the framework of the ongoing project Geoclima.

The simulations were performed under the IPCC A1B scenario (http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/029.htm). Projected near-surface temperatures staring from present climate until the middle of the 21st century are shown in Figure 1. 

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Figure 1 – Evolution (1961-2050) of near-surface temperature over South Eastern Europe simulated in AUTH using the Hellas-Grid computational resources

The final aim of Geoclima (www.geoclima.eu) project is to develop a Geographical Information System (GIS) allowing the user to visualize, manage and analyze the information which is directly or indirectly related to climate and its future projections over SE Europe. 

Contact details: 

  • H. Feidas (PI), Associate Professor, AUTH, hfeidas (at) geo.auth.gr

  • P. Zanis, Assistant Professor, AUTH, zanis (at) geo.auth.gr

  • E. Katragkou, Lecturer, AUTH, katragou (at) auth.gr

  • Scientific Computing Center, AUTH, contact (at) grid.auth.gr

References

  1. IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K and Reisinger, A. (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 104 pp.