Regional Arctic Climate System Model

A project funded by the Department of Energy


Collaborative Research: Towards Advanced Understanding and Predictive Capability of Climate Change in the Arctic using a High-Resolution Regional Arctic Climate System Model


RACM Publications and Presentations


Information regarding the next project meeting 3-4 Dec. 2010


Boulder, CO, May 2010 Project Meeting Downloads


John Cassano/Matt Higgins' presentation

Tony Craig's presentation

Bill Gutowski / Justin Glisan / Brandon Fisel's presentation

Jaromir Jakacki's presentation

Dennis Lettenmaier / Chunmei Zhu's presentation

Wieslaw Maslowski's presentation

Andrew Roberts' presentation


Santa Cruz Dec. 2009 Project Meeting Downloads

Lettenmaier/Zhu's presentation

He's presentation

Cassano/Higgins/Seefeldt's presentation

Gutowski's presentation

Fisel's presentation

Glisan's presentation

Taschetto & England (2008) paper

Roberts' presentation (protected; email Andrew or Jackie for the password)

Jakacki's presentation

Maslowski's presentation

San Diego Jun. 2009 Project Meeting Downloads

Jaromir/Wieslaw's Presentation

Robert/Wieslaw's Presentation

Juanxiong's Presentation

Bill/Brandon's Presentation

Bill/Justin's Presentation

John/Mark's Presentation

Dennis/Chunmei's Presentation

CORDEX Presentation

Other items


Mar. 16 teleconference notes here


Seattle 2008 Project Meeting Downloads

John/Mark's Presentation

Bill/Justin's Presentation

Bill/Brandon's Presentation

Brandon's Animation

Dennis/Chunmei's Presentation

Juanxiong's Presentation

Wieslaw/Jaromir's Presentation

Andrew's Presentation

Tony's Presentation

CCSM websites:

(Requires authorization; ask Jackie for login info)

(Requires authorization)

Meeting Notes

Meeting Info


How to check out and set up standard test of CCSM4 (from Tony 10/17/08)

CPL7 info (from Juanxiong He)

CCSM4 Call Graph (from Gabriele)

Boulder 2008 Project Meeting Downloads

Participant Contact Information

Meeting Minutes

Cassano's presentation

Gutowski's presentation

Gutowski's animation (diff slp FDDA)

Gutowski's animation (diff slp nonFDDA)

He's presentation

Jakacki's presentation

Kulchitsky's presentation

Lettenmaier's presentation

Maslowski's presentation

Roberts' presentation

Meeting information


Other presentations

Maslowski's ASM presentation


December 2007 meeting

December 2007 Meeting Notes

Maslowski powerpoint presentation (Dec. 2007)

Gutowski powerpoint presentation (Dec. 2007)

Lettenmaier powerpoint presentation (Dec. 2007)

Coupler User's Guide

CPL6 API Reference Manual

Sea-level pressure animation (FDDA)

Sea-level pressure animation (nonFDDA)

RACM poster (CCPP 2007)



Toward Prediction of Environmental Arctic Change (Maslowski et al. 2007)

domain domain

Pan-Arctic atmospheric and RACM model domain and elevations (left). Pan-Arctic ocean and sea ice domain and bathymetry (right). Click on figures for larger view.

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Project Summary



This is a collaborative project to: (i) develop a state-of-the-art Regional Arctic Climate system Model (RACM) including high-resolution atmosphere, land, ocean, sea ice and land hydrology components and (ii) to perform multi-decadal numerical experiments using high performance computers to minimize uncertainties and fundamentally improve current predictions of climate change in the northern polar regions. The project involves PIs from four institutions: Naval Postgraduate School (lead institution, PD/PI - Wieslaw Maslowski), University of Colorado in Boulder (co-PI - John Cassano), Iowa State University (co-PI - William J. Gutowski) and the University of Washington (co-PI - Dennis P. Lettenmaier). In addition, international experts in Arctic climate modeling from five institutions will be collaborators on this project (Dethloff/Rinke - AWI, Bromwich/Hines – OSU, Powers – NCAR, Lynch - Monash; Hinzman – UAF/IARC, with further conceptual support from the Weather Research Forecast (WRF) modeling community (R. Leung).

An accelerated melt of the Arctic sea ice cover has been reported since the late 1990s. Changes in the sea ice cover have significant ramifications to the entire pan-Arctic region and beyond, including the ocean thermohaline circulation and heat budget, climate and ecosystems, native communities, use of the region for natural resource exploration and commercial transportation. Our rationale in developing this project is based on the following three main theses:

  • Global climate models have large errors in representing northward fluxes of heat and moisture, sea ice distribution, and export of freshwater into the North Atlantic. Those parameters control both regional Arctic and global climate variability and their realistic representation requires dedicated high-resolution modeling studies and it is critical to improved climate predictions
  • Existing regional Arctic models do not account for important sea-ice-atmosphere-land-hydrology feedbacks as they typically simulate either the atmospheric state using simplified lower boundary conditions for the ice/ocean or predict ice-ocean variability using prescribed atmospheric forcing.
  • A Regional high-resolution Arctic Climate system Model (RACM), as defined above, can address these deficiencies and improve predictive skill of climate models. High resolution is defined as of order 10-km or less for ice/ocean and 50-km or less for atmosphere/land/hydrology components.

Science Objectives
The Arctic influences global climate and its variability in two primary ways: (i) through multi-year sea ice cover buffering heat stored below and (ii) through export of sea ice and freshwater into the North Atlantic affecting the meridional overturning circulation. The Arctic sea ice is a sensitive indicator of the evolution of these changes and the state of Arctic climate as a whole. The primary science objective of this project is the synthesis of understanding of past and present states to improve decadal to centennial prediction of future regimes of Arctic climate and their potential effects on global climate. A hierarchy of high-resolution Arctic climate model experiments, optimized for advanced parallel computers, will be realized to provide insight into the operation of Arctic climate that is not attainable with either individual regional component or global climate model experiments. This research directly addresses the two research topics of the SciDAC/CCPP announcement and the overall major science objective of the BER Climate Change Research Division (CCRD). In particular, we will use RACM to:

  • determine and quantify the coupled Arctic climate system processes responsible for the recent observed and future projected changes in the ice pack, regional hydrological cycle, and freshwater export into the North Atlantic.
  • assess decadal system scenarios of a seasonally / partially ice free Arctic Ocean, including their timing
  • address the general circulation model (GCM) limitations in predicting Arctic climate through the identification of physical and numerical requirements of future GCMs.

Benefits and Outcomes
A major product of this effort, and a principal community benefit, will be the development of a high-resolution pan-Arctic climate system model that combines all major climate elements in an internally consistent framework for focused studies. One of its outcomes involves improved prediction of ice-free Arctic Ocean for use in policy planning. This project will be a timely contribution to the International Polar Year and to other programs as it will facilitate syntheses and integration of historical and new observations with model results. It will involve undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students, who will receive practical training in coupled climate system modeling and/or analysis of model output.

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Last revised: 12.19.2007
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