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Item #d91jan117

The Bush Administration is supporting development of a new generation of supercomputers for predicting climatic change. The process of deciding how to go about the job, being coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, is discussed in "Climatologists Debate How to Model the World" by R.A. Kerr (Science, pp. 1082-1083, Nov. 23, 1990). One approach is the Computer Hardware, Advanced Mathematics and Model Physics (CHAMMP) Climate Modeling Program proposed by the Department of Energy. (See Reports, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Jan. 1991.) CHAMMP has been criticized for focusing too much on engineering to increase computer speed, to the exclusion of scientific development. The other approach being considered is the Climate System Modeling Program (CSMP) proposed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. The latest version of that plan concentrates on improving scientific weaknesses in existing models such as cloud processes and their effects, how the oceans absorb carbon dioxide, and testing model performance using the geologic record. Probably several competing models will be supported, using elements of both proposals. The article also examines the outlook for development of European models at the new Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research in Bracknell, England, the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, and elsewhere.

A request for CHAMMP grant applications, due Feb. 12, 1991, was published in the Dec. 5 Federal Register.

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