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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Colorado State University
  • David A Randall
  • (970) 491-8474
  • A S Denning
  • John J Helly
  • C.H. Moeng
  • Wayne H Schubert
Award Date:07/14/2006
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 18,960,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 33,505,835
  • FY 2007=$4,000,000
  • FY 2009=$4,050,275
  • FY 2014=$3,478,434
  • FY 2013=$4,108,850
  • FY 2016=$11,813
  • FY 2015=$2,656,000
  • FY 2012=$4,100,475
  • FY 2010=$4,071,113
  • FY 2011=$4,068,875
  • FY 2006=$2,960,000
Start Date:07/01/2006
End Date:06/30/2017
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Center for Multi-Scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (MMAP)
Federal Award ID Number:0425247
DUNS ID:785979618
Parent DUNS ID:948905492
Program:Climate & Large-Scale Dynamics
Program Officer:
  • Eric DeWeaver
  • (703) 292-8527

Awardee Location

Street:601 S Howes St
City:Fort Collins
County:Fort Collins
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Colorado State University
Street:601 S Howes St
City:Fort Collins
County:Fort Collins
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

This NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) will focus on the representation of cloud processes in climate models. The STC's name is the "Center for Multi-Scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes" (MMAP), and the lead institution is Colorado State University (CSU). The goal of MMAP is to break the "deadlock" that has stalled the progress of climate research for several decades. Climate models are physically based and include representations of the atmosphere, the ocean, the land-surface, and the cryosphere. They run on the most powerful computers available. They are now providing predictions of future climate change due to anthropogenic changes in the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. These predictions are being used as input to policy decisions that have enormous economic implications for the U.S. and the world. It has been true for decades now that our inability to simulate the interactions of clouds with large-scale atmospheric circulations is one of the most important limitations on the reliability of climate-change simulations. Poor simulations of cloud systems also reduce the skill of weather forecasts, especially for precipitation. MMAP will address this problem through a revolutionary new approach called the "multi-scale modeling framework" (MMF), in which fine-grid Cloud-System Resolving Models (CSRMs) are embedded within the much larger grid cells of an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM). In an MMF, the CSRM takes the place of the single-column "conventional parameterizations" that are used in current GCMs. Whereas conventional parameterizations are based on statistical theories involving uncertain closure assumptions and little or no information about the spatial structure of the cloud field, MMFs resolve cloud processes explicitly down to a scale of a few kilometers, and so represent some aspects of the spatial structure explicitly. The first MMF was created by MMAP scientist W. Grabowski of NCAR. In most of the prototype studies carried out to date, the CSRM is two-dimensional (2D), with periodic boundary conditions. It represents a "sample" of the clouds in a GCM grid column. The CSRM's high-resolution depiction of a cloud field can be used to compute statistics (e.g., the precipitation rate and fractional cloudiness) for the sampled portion of the GCM's grid column, and these statistics are applied to the entire grid column. A key point is that MMFs can represent the cloud-scale interactions among the many physical and chemical processes that are active in cloud systems, including cloud dynamics, microphysics including aerosols, turbulence, and radiation. MMFs eliminate the need for closure assumptions to determine the strength of deep convective activity. They eliminate the need for cloud-overlap assumptions in the radiative transfer and microphysics parameterizations. They have the potential to represent the interactions of both clouds and gravity waves with orography. They are also particularly attractive for the simulation of chemical species transports and transformations within cloud systems, as well as small-scale interactions between the atmosphere and the biological and hydrological processes of the land-surface. MMFs must still include parameterizations of critical sub-cloud-scale processes, including microphysics, turbulence, and radiative transfer. Because these processes are represented on the cloud-scale, however, they can be parameterized in relatively straightforward ways. A further very important strength of an MMF is that the results produced can be evaluated by comparison of simulated and observed cloud-scale processes. Recent work at CSU has shown that, relative to a control simulation with a conventional GCM, a prototype MMF produces greatly improved simulations of atmospheric variability on a variety of time scales, from diurnal to intra-seasonal. It also gives more realistic simulations of cloudiness and precipitation. Experiments with the MMF have already shown that cloud-scale variability of the radiative heating rate is important, as is convective momentum transport, which is included in a new version of the MMF that uses a 3D CSRM. A key part of the research consists of further development of the MMF concept, beginning with a new version of the MMF in which the periodic boundary conditions of the CSRM are eliminated, and multiple 2D CSRMs are combined to create a "quasi-3D" MMF. Removal of the 2D constraint permits convective systems to have arbitrary orientation and to vertically transport horizontal momentum. Removal of the periodic boundary conditions allows convective systems to propagate from one GCM grid column to the next, and prevents the convection from being artificially "squeezed" as the periodic domain decreases in size. Because there is no reason to alter the formulation of the embedded CSRM when the GCM's resolution is increased, the formulation of the quasi-3D MMF is independent of the spacing of the outer grid. In addition, realistic topographic forcing can be prescribed from data, and used to simulate orographic gravity waves and orographic clouds. Finally, a quasi-3D MMF converges in a smooth and natural way to a global CSRM, as the size of the outer grid is refined. The PIs emphasize that no existing GCM has this convergence property. They plan to develop, evaluate, and apply a quasi-3D MMF as the central, organizing activity of the research. MMAP's education and human-resource goals are to provide first-rate graduate education in Atmospheric Science; to interest undergraduates in graduate education and careers in climate science; and to develop and disseminate teaching materials designed to inform K-12 students (and their teachers) about the nature of the climate system and the career opportunities in climate science. In each of these areas, MMAP will make a special effort to include students from groups that are under-represented among climate- science professionals. MMAP will undertake two publishing projects that will significantly enhance scientific communication in our field: the creation of a new and unique online technical journal devoted to global modeling, and the production of an edited book on the history of global climate modeling, including transcripts of interviews with the key participants. The intellectual merit of MMAP's research lies in its revolutionary approach to the cloud-climate problem. Earth system scientists can learn a lot about the global climate system by approaching the problem of climate modeling from a new and different perspective, and this new knowledge is the most valuable thing that will flow from MMAP's research. The research will have broad impacts on both science and society because it will increase both our understanding of climate dynamics, and our ability to make reliable predictions of cloud feedbacks on climate change. The legacy of MMAP will include important new modeling tools that will provide substantially more reliable predictions of anthropogenic climate change. In addition, MMAP will demonstrate new ways to compare high resolution observations with global model results, enable improved weather forecasts by the operational centers, strengthen the scientific interactions between global modelers on the one hand and cloud-scale observers and cloud modelers on the other, create a heightened awareness of the excitement and opportunities of climate research among both female and male students from all ethnic backgrounds and at all levels, inaugurate a unique new scholarly journal, and produce a book that captures the history of global climate modeling with an emphasis on the cloud parameterization problem.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Li, L., Y.-P. Wang, Q. Yu, B. Pak, D. Eaumus, J. Yan, E. van Gorsel, I.T. Baker "Improving the responses of the Australian Community land surface model (CABLE) to seasonal drought" J. Geophys. Res, v.117, 2012, p.0. doi:unknown 

Harrington, J. Y., K. Sulia, and H. Morrison "A method for adaptive habit prediction in bulk microphysical models. Part II: Parcel model corroboration" J. Atmos Science, v.70, 2013, p.365-376.

Benedict, J. J., A. H. Sobel, E. D. Maloney, D. M. Frierson, and L. J. Donner "Tropical intraseasonal variability in Version 3 of the GFDL Atmosphere Model" J. Climate, v.26, 2013, p.426-449.

F. Li, D.Rosa, W. D.Collins, and M. F.Wehner "?Super-parameterization?: A better way to simulate regional extreme precipitation?" J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst, v.4, 2012, p.0. doi:Unknown 

W. C. Hsieh, W. D. Collins, Y. Liu, J. C. H. Chiang, C.-L. Shie, K. Caldeira, L. Cao "Climate response due to carbonaceous aerosols and aerosol-induced SST effects in NCAR community atmospheric model CAM3.5" Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, v.13, 2013, p.7349-7396. doi:unknown 

Bryan, G., and H. Morrison, "Sensitivity of a simulated squall line to horizontal resolution and parameterization of microphysics" Mon Wea. Rev., v.140, 2012, p.202-225. doi:Unknown 

Maloney, E.D., and S.-P. Xie, "Sensitivity of MJO activity to the pattern of climate warming" J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., v.5, 2013, p.32-47. doi:doi:10.1029/2012MS000171 

Huntzinger, D., W. Post, A. Michelak, Y. Wei, A. Jacobsen, T.O. West, I. Baker, J. Chen, K. Davis, D. Hayes, F. Hoffman, A. Jain, S. Liu, D. McGuire, R. Neilson, B. Poulter, H. Tian, P. Thornton, E. Tomelleri, N. Viovy, J. Xiao, N. Zeng, M. Zhao, R. C "North American Carbon Project (NACP) regional interim synthesis: terrestrial biospheric model intercomparison" Ecol. Model, v.232, 2012, p.144-157. doi:unknown 

DeMott, C. A., C. Stan, and D. A. Randall "Northward Propagation Mechanisms of the Boreal Summer Intraseasonal Oscillation in the ERA-Interim Reanalysis and SP-CCSM" Journal of Climate, v.26, 2013, p.1973-1992. doi:Unknown 

Milbrant, JA. and H. Morrison "Prediction of Graupel Density in a Bulk Microphysics Scheme." J. Atmos. Sci., v.70, 2013, p.410-429.

Miyakawa, T., Y. N. Takayabu, T. Nasuno, H. Miura, M. Satoh, and M.W. Moncrieff, "Miyakawa, T., Y. N. Takayabu, T. Nasuno, H. Miura, M. Convective momentum transport by rainbands within a Madden-Julian oscillation in a global non-hydrostatic model with explicit deep convective processes. Part I: Met" J. Atmos. Sci., v.69, 2012, p.1317-1338. doi:unknown 

Moeng, C.-H., and A. Arakawa "Representation of boundary-layer moisture transport in cloud-resolving models." Monthly Weather Review, v.140, 2013, p.3682-3698. doi:unknown 

Moncrieff, M.W., D. E. Waliser, M.J. Miller, M.E. Shapiro, G. Asrar, and J. Caughey, "Multiscale convective organization and the YOTC Virtual Global Field Campaign" Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., v.93, 2012, p.1171-1187. doi:doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00233.1 

Moncrieff, M.W., D.E.Waliser, and J. Caughey "Progress and direction in tropical convection research" Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., v.93, 2012, p.65-69. doi:93, http: // 

Morrison, H., G. de Boer, G. Feingold, J. Harrington, M. Shupe, and K. Sulia "Self-organization and resilience of Arctic mixed-phase clouds" Nature Geoscience, v.5, 2012, p.11-17. doi:doi:10.1038/ngeo1332 

Morrison, H. "On the numerical treatment of hydrometeor sedimentation in bulk and hybrid bulk-bin schemes" Mon. Wea. Rev., v.140, 2012, p.1572-1588. doi: 

Baker, I.T., H.R. da Rocha, N. Restrepo-Coupe, L.S. Borma, O.M. Cabral, A.O. Manzi, A.D. Nobre, S.C. Wofsy, S.R. Saleska, M.L. Goulden, S.D. Miller, F.L. Cardoso, A.S. Denning "Surface ecophysiological behavior across vegetation and moisture gradients in tropical South America" Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, v.0, 2013, p.1-12.

Morrison, H., S. Tessendorf, K. Ikeda, and G. Thompson "Sensitivity of a simulated mid-latitude squall line to parameterization of raindrop breakup" Mon. Wea. Rev., v.0, 2012, p.2437-2460.

Elsaesser, G. S., and C. D. Kummerow "A Multi-Sensor Observational Depiction of the Transition from Light to Heavy Rainfall on Sub-Daily Timescales" Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, v.0, 2013, p.1-48. doi:unknown 

Morrison, H. "On the robustness of aerosols effects on a supercell storm simulated using a cloud system resolving model" Atmos. Chem. Phys., v.12, 2012, p.7689-7705. 

Morrison, H., and W. W. Grabowski "2013: Response of tropical deep convection to localized heating perturbations: Implications for aerosol-induced convective invigoration" J. Atmos. Sci., v.13, 2013, p.4133-4144.\ 

Ray, P., C. Zhang, J. Dudhia, T. Li, and M. W. Moncrieff, "Tropical channel model. L. M. Druyan (Ed.)" Climate Models, v.InTech, 2012, p.350. doi:ISBN 979-953-307-338-4 

Ray, P., C. Zhang, M. W. Moncrieff, J. Dudhia, J. M. Caron, L. R. Leung and C. Bruyere "The role of the mean state on the initiation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation." Clim. Dyn, v.36, 2012, p.161-184. doi:DOI:10.1007/s00382-010-0859-2 

D. Rosa, J. F. Lamarque, W. D. Collins "Global transport of passive tracers in conventional and superparameterized climate models: Evaluation of multi-scale methods," J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., v.4, 2012, p.1-13. doi:doi:10.1029/2012MS000206. 

F.Li, D.Rosa, W. D.Collins, and M. F.Wehner "?Super-parameterization?: A better way to simulate regional extreme precipitation?" J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., v.4, 2012, p.1-10. doi:doi:10.1029/2011MS000106. 

Rydbeck, A. V., E. D. Maloney, S.-P. Xie, J. Hafner, and J. Shaman "Remote forcing versus local feedback of east Pacific intraseasonal variability." J. Climate, v.0, 2012, p.1-60. doi: 

Jiang, X.-A., E. D. Maloney, J.-L. F. Li, and D. E. Waliser "Simulations of the eastern north Pacific intraseasonal variability in CMIP5 GCMs" Journal of Climate, v.0, 2013, p.1-22.

Slade, S. A., and E. D. Maloney "An intraseasonal prediction model of Atlantic and east Pacific tropical cyclone genesis." Mon. Wea. Rev., v.0, 2013, p.1-61. doi: 

Sobel, A. H., and E. D. Maloney, "Moisture modes and the eastward propagation of the MJO." J. Atmos. Sci., v.70, 2013, p.187-192. doi:unknown 

Sulia, K., J. Y. Harrington, and H. Morrison, "A method for adaptive habit prediction in bulk microphysical models. Part III: Applications and studies with a two-dimensional kinematic model." J. Atmos. Sci., v.70, 2013, p.365-376. doi: 

Sulman, B.N., A.R.Desai, N.M. Schroeder, D. Ricciuto, A. Barr, A.D. Richardson, L.B. Flanagan, P. M. Lafeur, H. Tian, G. Chen, R.F. Grant, B. Poulter, H. Verbeeck, P. Ciais, P. Peylin, B. Ringeval, I.T. Baker, K. Schaefer, Y. Luo and E. Weng, "Impact of hydrological variations on modeling of peatland CO2 fluxes: Results from the North American Carbon Program site synthesis" J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JG001862, v.117, 2012, p.0. doi:doi:10.1029/2011JG001862. 

Canetto, S. S. , Trott, C., Thomas, & Wynstra, C "Making sense of the Atmospheric Science gender gap: Do female and male students have different career motives, goals, and challenges" Journal of Geoscience Education, v.60, 2012, p.408-416. doi:unknown 

Slawinska, J., W. W. Grabowski, H. Pawlowska, and H. Morrison "Droplet activation and mixing in large-eddy simulation of a shallow cumulus field." J. Atmos. Sci, v.69, 2012, p.0. doi:unknown 

Samuel S.P. Shen,Max Velado, Richard C. J. Somerville,and Gabriel J. Kooperman "Probabilistic assessment of cloud fraction using Bayesian blending of independent datasets: Feasibility study of a new method" JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH: ATMOSPHERES, v.118, 2013, p.1-13. doi:doi:10.1002/jgrd.50408, 2013 

Somerville, R. C. J. "Climate Change, Irreversibility and Urgency" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, v.0, 2012, p.0. doi: 

Keenan, T., I. Baker, A. Barr, P. Ciais, K. Davis, M. Dietze, D. Dragoni, C. Gough, R. Grant, D. Hollinger, K. Hufkens, B. Poulter, H. McCaughey, B. Raczka, Y. Ryu, K. Schaefer, H. Tian, H. Verbeek, M Zhao, A. Richardson "Evaluation of terrestrial biosphere model performance for land-atmosphere CO2 exchange on inter-annual time scales: Results from the North America Carbon Program site synthesis" Glob. Change Biol, v.18, 2012, p.1971-1987. doi:Unknown 

Van Weverberg, K., A. M. Vogelmann, H. Morrison, and J. A. Milbrandt, "Sensitivity of idealized squall line simulations to the level of complexity used in two-moment bulk microphysics schemes" Mon. Wea. Rev., v.140, 2012, p.1883-1907. doi:Unknown 

Yamaguchi, T., and D. A. Randall, "Cooling of entrained parcels in a large-eddy simulation" J. Atmos. Sci., v.69, 2012, p.1118-1136. doi: 

Waliser, D.E., M.W. Moncrieff, and Coauthors doi:10.1175/2011BAMS3095.1 "The ?Year? of Tropical Convection (May 2008 to April 2010): Climate variability and weather highlights" Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., v.93, 2012, p.1189-1218. doi:doi:10.1175/2011BAMS3095.11189 

Wang, H., T. Auligne, and H. Morrison "The impact of microphysics scheme complexity on the propagation of initial perturbations" Mon. Wea. Rev.Jones, T. R., and D. A. Randall, 2011: Quantifying the limits of convective parameterization, v.140, 2012, p.2287-2296. doi:doi:10.1029/2010JD014913 

Wang, M., S. Ghan, X. Liu, T. L'Ecuyer, K. Zhang, H. Morrison, M. Ovchinnikov, R. Easter, R. Marchand, D. Chand, Y. Qian and J. Penner "Constraining cloud lifetime effects of aerosols using A-Train Satellite observations" Geophys. Res. Lett., v.39, 2012, p.0. doi:doi:10.1029/2012GL052204. 

Wyant M. C., C. S. Bretherton, P. N. Blossey, and M. Khairoutdinov "Fast cloud adjustment to increasing CO2 in a superparameterized climate model" J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., v.0, 2012, p.0. doi:doi:10.1029/2011MS000092 

Wyszogrodzki, AA, WW Grabowski, LP Wang, and O Ayala "Turbulent collision-coalescence in maritime shallow convection" Atmos. Chem. Phys, v.13, 2013, p.9217-9265. doi:doi:10.5194/acpd-13-9217-2013 

M. Zhang, C. S. Bretherton, P. N. Blossey, S. Bony, F. Brient and J.-C. Golaz, "The CGILS Experimental Design to Investigate Low Cloud Feedbacks in General Circulation Models by Using Single-Column and Large-Eddy Simulation Models" J. Adv. Model. Earth, v.4, 2012, p.1-15. doi:doi:10.1029/2012MS000182 

Zhang, M. "Review of ?The Development of Atmospheric General Circulation Models? by Leo Donner, Wayne Schubert, and Richard Somerville" State University of New York at Stony Brook, v.0, 2012, p.0.

Harrington, J. Y., K. Sulia, and H. Morrison "A method for adaptive habit prediction in bulk microphysical models. Part I: Theoretical development" J. Atmos. Sci., v.70, 2013, p.349-364. doi:unknown 

Peter A. Bogenschutz, Steven K. Krueger "A simplified PDF parameterization of subgrid-scale clouds and turbulence for cloud-resolving models" Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, v.0, 2013, p.1-17. doi:DOI: 10.1002/jame.20018 

Khairoutdinov, M. F., and C.-Y. Yang "Cloud-resolving modeling of aerosol indirect effects in idealized radiative-convective equilibrium with interactive and fixed sea surface temperature" Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, v.12, 2012, p.29099-291. doi:Unknown 

Kooperman, G. J., M. S. Pritchard, S. J. Ghan, M. Wang, R. C. J. Somerville, and L. M. Russell "Constraining the influence of natural variability to improve estimates of global aerosol indirect effects in a nudged version of the Community Atmosphere Model 5" J. Geophys. Res, v.17, 2012, p.1-16. doi:doi:10.1029/2012JD018588 

Hsieh, W. -C., D. Rosa, and W. D. Collins "Global dust simulations in the multiscale-modeling framework" JAMES, v.5, 2013, p.1-18. doi:Unknown 

Anning Cheng and Kuan-Man Xu "Evaluating Low Cloud Simulation from an Upgraded Multiscale Modeling Framework Model. Part III: Tropical and Subtropical Cloud Transitions over the Northern Pacific" Journal of Climate, v.0, 2013, p.1-51. doi:unknown 

Lebo, Z. J., H. Morrison, and J. H. Seinfeld "Are simulated aerosol effects on deep convective clouds strongly dependent on saturation adjustment?" Atmos. Chem. Phys, v.12, 2013, p.9941-9964. doi:unknown 

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) was conceived in 2001. From the beginning and throughout its history, CMMAP’s research dealt with the development of improved global atmospheric models for climate simulation and weather forecasting, with a special emphasis on the role of clouds.

The ideas and methods developed by CMMAP were planned primarily for use in the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), although CMMAP also interacted with several other global modeling centers around the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Modeling innovations developed by CMMAP are now included in the CAM. In addition, CMMAP participants published over 350 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals. Because of the academic nature of CMMAP’s research, no patents were applied for. CMMAP achieved all of its research goals. In the process, CMMAP transformed the atmospheric modeling landscape. The new ideas and modeling approaches that CMMAP have created will continue to influence model design for many years to come.

Much of this future work will be published in JAMES, a highly successful new open-access scientific journal that CMMAP created, and that has been adopted by the American Geophysical Union.

In addition, CMMAP also created a very broad and ambitious program aimed at enhancing science education for the diverse U.S. population. This included an undergraduate summer intern program that touched over 100 students, a K12 teacher training program, and many visits to K12 schools by the “Little Shop of Physics,” as well as financial support and cutting-edge research experiences for 72 graduate students at seven universities.

To borrow the words of Steve Jobs, we “made a dent in the universe.” And the work goes on.



Last Modified: 12/13/2017
Modified by: David A Randall

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