Energizing Science with CCSM
With technology innovations trumping geographic boundaries, a base model from which to move forward, and willing participation of the climate modeling community, the vision of a community climate model became reality in the late 1990s with the Community Climate System Model (CCSM). Today's CCSM is far more complex than the original, and includes much more Earth system detail.
In 2009, CCSM version 4 (CCSM4) is expected to be released to the public. CCSM4 will be among the models included in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and will be used to make future projections of the Earth's climate. Among its new capabilities, CCSM4 be able to run a complete carbon cycle, and two new components will allow assessment of future air quality of mega-cities and improve predictions of future atmospheric ozone levels.
From inception, the CCSM project was novel in its approach of involving the U.S. climate science community in creating a true community model and approach to climate research. Today, it is through ongoing development of the CCSM and similar, community-driven models and projects that researchers are finding answers to critical questions related to the climate and Earth system dynamics.