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Energy Exascale Earth System Model Version 2 promises twice the speed

The Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) is an ongoing project of modeling, simulation and prediction of the Earth system of the Department of Energy (DOE) aimed at “asserting and maintaining a position of international scientific leader” in these areas. The project, launched in 2014, released E3SMv1 in 2018. Now, three years later, E3SMv2 is here, promising dramatic improvements in speed and accuracy.

“E3SMv2 is faster and better than E3SMv1,” said Chris Golaz, atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), in an interview with Anne M. Stark of LLNL. “It’s about twice as fast on identical machines, four times faster on machines we have now, compared to what we had for E3SMv1. From generation to generation, Earth system models generally get better but also a bit slower, so faster and better is important. “

One of the jobs that E3SMv1 – and, in general, major weather and climate models – have struggled with is depicting precipitation and clouds, which often operate at lower resolutions than the multi-kilometer grids that make these models manageable by calculation. E3SMv2 handles both precipitation and clouds much better than the first version – in particular, Golaz said, “the way clouds change in a warmer climate is much more realistic.”

E3SMv2 comes with two fully coupled configurations: a global atmospheric model with 100 km grid and an “RRM” (regionally refined model) with a 25 km grid over North America. “Thanks to the performance improvements, the RRM configuration of E3SMv2 works as fast as E3SMv1 in its standard resolution configuration (100 km) a few years ago,” Golaz said. “We’re basically getting the much higher resolution for free. “

“E3SMv2 allows us to simulate the present more realistically, which gives us more confidence to simulate the future,” added David Bader, E3SM project manager, scientist at LLNL and director of the Institute for Data Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology. “The increased computing power allows us to add more detail to processes and interactions, resulting in more accurate and useful simulations than the previous version. “

Lawrence Livermore is just one of many partners in the project, which includes more than 100 scientists and engineers, several universities and a range of other DOE labs including Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Sandia. E3SM also has links with the Exascale IT project and other DOE programs.

Now, researchers are working on a simulation campaign with E3SMv2, with several thousand years already simulated and thousands more. The E3SM project is asking affiliated researchers to delay submission of papers pending publication of the E3SMv2 core research, but updates on the project and the resulting research can be found on the E3SM website. here.

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