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Center for Multi-Scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes

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Center for Multi-Scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (MMAP)  (Colorado State University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes, CMMAP, is a partnership of research and educational institutions, government agencies, and industry. The center is also actively involved with various national and international model evaluation projects, and shares its results with those projects.

CMMAP’s research is focused on improving the representation of cloud processes in climate models. The need for such improvements is one of the most important limitations on the reliability of current climate-change simulations. The center is addressing this problem through a revolutionary new approach called the “multiscale modeling framework” (MMF), in which high-resolution cloud models are coupled to lower-resolution global models. A very important strength of an MMF is that the results produced can be evaluated by comparison of simulated and observed cloud-scale processes. These include both surface observations and satellite observations. CMMAP is advancing its field by creating a global cloudresolving model and a second-generation MMF with very attractive new properties.

Using these models requires CMMAP to include a strong computational focus. Cyberinfrastructure research issues include model performance optimization, visualization of model results, and management and distribution of both large model-output data sets and processed model data to accommodate the more limited computational resources at some partner institutions. CMMAP’s Cyberinfrastructure Working Group leverages existing national assets of the Teragrid and Earth System Grid as well as developing CMMAP-specific resources that are shared with the research and education communities.

Education & Outreach

CMMAP is educating and training a diverse population in Climate and Earth System Science by enhancing teaching and learning at all educational levels, disseminating science results through multiple media, engaging stakeholders and policymakers, and improving science pedagogy.

CMMAP provides a wide variety of opportunities for students. The Graduate Student Colloquium is an opportunity for CMMAP graduate students across seven institutions to develop contacts and to learn together in a small group setting that is specifically designed to meet student's needs. Additional workshops teach students the computer programming skills they need to work with cloud and climate models, offer strategies and tools for practical communication of scientific data to non-scientific decision makers, and provide the guidance and information that will help participants to be stronger candidates for academic positions and to succeed in academic jobs.

CMMAP engages with teachers and the public at large as well. Its Changing Climates project offers high-quality, up-to-date information about climate change as people in many different disciplines see it: climate and political scientists, visual artists and ecologists, sociologists and ethicists, writers and historians. The Teaching Weather and Climate summer teacher’s course provides a semester's worth of college-level content on the basic physics of the atmosphere, weather, climate, climate modeling, and climate change and demonstrates dozens of inquiry-based activities suitable for use in classrooms.

To support diversity, CMMAP is increasing the number of women, underrepresented minorities, and individuals with disabilities in climate science by aggressively recruiting these groups as CMMAP graduate students and staff members, helping them to become excellent scientists and educators, and placing them in leadership positions.

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Nacreous clouds above Ross Island, Antarctica.
Chad Carpenter, NSF