Translating Process Understanding to Improve Climate Models

Sea surface temperature


Thursday, October 15,
08:00 – 19:00

Friday, October 16,
08:00 – 17:00

Princeton, New Jersey
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The purpose of the workshop is to assess the current understanding of physical processes, which could lead to significant climate and weather prediction model improvements on a 5-year timescale.

This workshop aims to promote interaction and communication among modeling centers and the broader community (i.e., observationalists, theorists, and process modelers) to identify priority model improvement needs and opportunities.

Possible workshop topics will include:

  • Scale-aware parameterizations of subgrid scale processes
  • Ice-ocean interactions and sea-ice dynamics
  • Air-sea interactions
  • Shallow and deep convection in the atmosphere
  • Cloud macro- and micro-physics, and aerosol processes in the atmosphere  
  • Coastal/marginal sea processes, such as estuarine mixing and coastal upwelling
  • Vertical transports and surface processes in the ocean
  • Land surface physics parameterizations
  • Processes influencing polar feedbacks
  • Diurnal-to-annual surface processes for both land and ocean
  • Ocean eddy processes
  • Physical processes that affect the carbon cycle


The workshop will be open to the broad Earth sciences research community. While the workshop is principally focused on improving the transfer of process understanding to the development of climate models in the US, the participation of non-US scientists to share experiences and lessons is welcome. It will convene approximately 80 participants and include (1) representatives from each of the participating US modeling centers (NCAR, NOAA GFDL and NCEP, NASA GISS and GMAO, DOE ACME, and ONR Earth System Model development efforts) and (2) representatives of observational campaigns and process study teams for which there are mature results that could improve the model representation of processes in components of Earth system models.

A brief application is required for all participants and will be reviewed by the Organizing Committee. Abstracts will also be collected, if desired, with the application. Participants are encouraged to submit an abstract for one of the very limited speaking slots or to present a poster. A poster session will offer individuals an opportunity to present findings and ideas. The talks, poster session, and discussion, will allow groups to self-organize by objective or by topic, and breakout discussions will be organized. 

Expected outcomes

A brief summary document will be generated immediately following the workshop to provide highlights for consideration by US CLIVAR Panels, Scientific Steering Committee, sponsoring agencies, and interested parties.

A more detailed white paper will be issued as a US CLIVAR report in early 2016 summarizing questionnaire responses and workshop presentations, discussions, and recommendations to inform the broad research community and agency considerations.

Scientific Organizing Committee

Alessandra Giannini, Columbia University

Marika Holland, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Sonya Legg, Princeton University

Amala Mahadevan, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Aneesh Subramanian, University of California San Diego (chair)

Joao Teixeira, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Caroline Ummenhofer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Program Organizing Committee

Mike Patterson, US CLIVAR

Jill Reisdorf, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Kristan Uhlenbrock, US CLIVAR