U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Linking Climate Model Pieces Together with a New and Improved “Coupler.”
Published: December 21, 2012
Posted: April 18, 2013

The international Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) has produced an enormous number of climate and Earth system model simulations to help scientists understand climate change and variability. Performing those simulations and analyzing the data requires a great deal of sophisticated and high-performance software, some of which is freely available to the community as open source. A recent issue of the journal Geoscientific Model Development was devoted to “Community Software to Support the Delivery of CMIP5.” Coupling software in an Earth system model, sometimes called ‘the coupler,’ is the software used to get the ocean, atmosphere, land surface, and sea ice models to talk to each other and simulate one system. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory developed the Model Coupling Toolkit (MCT) used as the foundation coupling software in the U.S. Department of Energy/National Science Foundation-developed Community Earth System Model (CESM), one of the biggest contributers to CMIP5. This coupling software performs well on high-performance, massively parallel computers and is straightforward to integrate into a climate model, important “coupler” criteria. In addition to the CESM, five out of seven European-developed climate models contributing to CMIP5 used a coupler called OASIS whose developers recently announced a new version of their software that includes MCT.

Reference: Valcke, S., V. Balaji, A. Craig, C. DeLuca, R. Dunlap, R. W. Ford, R. Jacob, J. Larson, R.  O'Kuinghttons, G. D. Riley, and M. Vertenstein. 2012. “Coupling Technologies for Earth System Modelling,” Geoscientific Model Development 5, 1589–96. DOI: 10.5194/gmd-5-1589-2012. (Reference link)

Contact: Renu Joseph, SC-23.1, (301) 903-9237, Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)