Computer Modeling at Local, Global, and Cosmological Scales

November 19, 2009

This one hour meeting was help on Thursday, October 29 in the Rayburn Office Building.  Both the Computing Research Associates and the IEEE-USA organized this session, which was sponsored by Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-Ill) and Congressman Rush Holt (D-Ill).


The highlight of the meeting for us was an opportunity in the beginning to have a conversation with Representative Biggert, and to present her with our OPP brochure on The Credibility Project.  The conversation was revealing in two ways.  Her comments on global warming were extremely sympathetic to the need to pass a reasonable energy bill in this session.  She also expressed regret over the fact that registration to run for Congress next year will occur so early that it may be difficult to pass such a bill next year, since so many current office holders will be spending time campaigning.


Her comments on the need for a reasonable energy bill may reflect the mood of a growing number of Republicans who might support one.  A recent article details Senator Inhofe's disappointment that all other Republicans - and all Democrats - on the Environment and Public Works Committee (Inhofe = Rnk Republican Mem) have abandoned his claim that "global warming is a hoax," and are quoted as saying the problem is real and needs legislative attention." 


However, Representative Biggert's comments on the possible impact of 2010 politics on the prospects for passage of an energy bill next year are sobering.  Three months ago, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's Senior Policy Advisor Mary Frances Repko gave Toni Van Pelt and me the same sobering assessment.


The actual talks were interesting but contained little new information.  The three disciplines represented  (meteorology, climate modeling, and modeling the Universe) all made compelling cases for faster and more efficient massive parallel processors in the national computing labs.


Climate Modeling was presented by Dr David Bader of the Oak Ridge Climate Change Science Institute.  His talk was restricted to work completed before 2005.   That was unfortunate, since results from the Hadley Model, which he mentioned, predicted in 2005 the current slightly cool period ... to be followed by another sharp temperature spike when internal modes of the climate system work together to drive the global temperature up again.  The most useful concludion from the pre-2005 modeling was that while many global climate models are now converging toward resonable agreement, a lot of additional work is needed to improve regional models upon which local economies are critically dependent.

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