Sep 27, 2023

Inaugural CMIP7 National Workshops take place in Australia and the UK

Over the last 30 years, CMIP has grown from a modest scientific research initiative to become a global enterprise, with more than 40 modelling centers around the world participating in CMIP6. Many hundreds of scientific papers have already been published and the results are included in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. CMIP has been organised in different phases, each with new and improved climate model experiment protocols, standards, and data distribution mechanisms. CMIP6 is the most recent phase to release its modelling output data for general use, whilst the latest phase, CMIP7 is in its earliest organisational stages.

To help plan and design their contributions for CMIP7, both the UK and Australia have recently held national CMIP7 workshops. Representatives attended from across modelling centres, infrastructure providers, government, and research communities.

Australia CMIP7 Workshop

The inaugural Australian CMIP7 workshop was held in CSIRO Aspendale over two days at the end of February. The workshop was co-hosted by the Australian Earth System Simulator (ACCESS-NRI), CSIRO, the NESP Climate Systems Hub, and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI). It was attended by 40 people in person, with an additional 57 attendees online.

Australia has historically contributed to all previous CMIP phases and in CMIP6 so far:

  1. Contributed two versions of their ACCESS model, and two ocean models to OMIP;
  2. Australian models participated in 11 out of 23 MIPs;
  3. Managed a ‘Tier 1’ ESGF node which published both unique and replicated data with a web portal interface, and 653 TB of unique data was published to ESFG from Australian models;
  4. When CMIP6 models are ranked by how frequently they have been downloaded, both the ACCESS-ESM1-5 (4th) and ACCESS-CM2 (9th) are in the top 10 across all CMIP6.
  5. Numerous articles published in a special issue of the Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth System Science on CMIP6

The workshop was opened by the Director of the ACCESS-NRI, Andy Hogg (ANU), and included a number of introductory talks from CSIRO leadership, key infrastructure managers, Government representatives, and CMIP Panel member Julie Arblaster (Monash University). Rachel Law (CSIRO) also summarised some highlights of Australia’s CMIP6 efforts.  

Across the rest of the first day, presentations covered lessons which have been learned from previous CMIP involvement and Australia’s current involvement in preparations for CMIP7. The latter was presented by Australian representatives on four of the CMIP7 Task Teams:  Forcings (Zeb Nicholls/Tilo Ziehn), Data Citation (Yiling Liu), Data Request (Chloe Mackallah), and Strategic Ensemble Design (Andrew King). In the afternoon, discussion was also split into breakout groups to determine the main science questions, community needs & desired outcomes for the Australian CMIP community.

On the second day, the morning presentations turned more technical and discussed the model development options which might be available for CMIP7 subject to the IPCC timeline and resource levels. There was also a great deal of group discussion on the second day to identify the MIPs and model developments which should be prioritised by the Australian CMIP community.

Following the successful workshop, CMIP Panel member Julie Arblaster commented:

The workshop was pivotal in gathering momentum for a community-wide Australian contribution to CMIP7. CMIP remains an essential pathway for coupled earth system model development in Australia and the workshop highlighted the continued importance of modelling our unique landscape and region and contributing to the wider understanding of the earth system through CMIP.

Julie Arblaster, CMIP Panel member

This initial workshop has also since been followed up with the broader ACCESS Community Workshop in September 2023 which covered everything from the use of ACCESS in NWP to idealised ocean modelling but featured discussions around CMIP throughout. More information on the ACCESS Community Workshop can be found here.

UK CMIP7 Planning Workshop

On September 4th, approximately 90 representatives from across the UK CMIP community attended the first planning workshop in person, held at the University of Reading, with an additional 50 people joining online.

The workshop was organised under the new UK National Climate Science Partnership (UKNCSP), with the organising committee including co-directors Cath Senior (CMIP Panel, UK Met Office) and Rowan Sutton (NCAS), alongside Colin Jones (NCAS), Alejandro Bodas-Salcedo (UK Met Office), and Helene Hewitt (CMIP Panel co-chair, UK Met Office). The UKNCSP is a new partnership of eight leading UK climate science organisations, developed to harness the UK’s climate science capabilities to meet the challenges of reaching net zero. One of UKNSCP’s three initial priorities is to coordinate the UK response to CMIP7.

The UK has previously made substantial contributions to CMIP, and in CMIP6:

  • Contributed two models (UKESM1.0, HadGEM3-GC3.1) in nine different configurations;
  • UK models participated in 19 out of 23 MIPS;
  • UK scientists were co-chairs of 9 MIPs;
  • Managed a ‘Tier 1’ ESGF node which published both unique and replicated data with a web portal interface, and the UK published 1.2PB of data to the ESGF;
  • JAMES special issue on ‘The UK contribution to CMIP6’.

Hear from Cath Senior about why CMIP is so important:

Cath Senior (UK Met Office)

On the day of the workshop, Eleanor O’Rourke (CMIP IPO Director) provided an update on the CMIP Panel’s planning for CMIP7, and UK Task Team members Ben Booth (UK Met Office), Alison Pamment (CEDA), and Michaela Hegglin (University of Reading) gave updates on the work of the Strategic Ensemble Design, Data Request, and Forcings Task Teams respectively. WIP co-chair Matthew Mizielinski (UK Met Office) also provided an update on the infrastructure planning for CMIP7.

Lead developers of the HadGEM3 and UKESM models, Alejandro Bodas-Salcedo and Jane Mulcahy (UK Met Office) informed attendees about the model development progress since CMIP6 and outlined which updates might be available for CMIP7. However, there is currently some uncertainty around the CMIP7 timeline, due to dependencies on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) timeline which has yet to be determined, making it difficult for model developers to commit which developments will definitely be ready.

Alongside the representatives from the CMIP Panel, WIP, Task Teams, and modelling centres, a number of scientists co-ordinating Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) also attended the workshop. ScenarioMIP is responsible for defining the climate change scenarios which will be used in CMIP7. This is a crucial step in the CMIP timeline. To kick-off the important process, ScenarioMIP recently held a workshop to develop a process to design the next protocol. ScenarioMIP Scientific Steering Committee member Pierre Friedlingstein (University of Exeter) provided an update to the CMIP7 Workshop attendees. 15 other scientific MIPs presented their updates during an afternoon poster session.

The presentations across the day were intersected with a number of workshop-wide discussions. These discussions covered:

  1. What the UK’s priorities should be for CMIP7, both on the centralised simulations which might be submitted to a ‘fast track’ experiment stream and the scientific MIPs needed for analysis;
  2. What resource gaps are potentially going to cause issues during CMIP7;
  3. Funding avenues the community should explore;
  4. The need and desire for future UK CMIP community meetings.

The workshop was a great success, with organiser Colin Jones concluding

“It was great to see so many people at the workshop and the enthusiasm expressed for a strong UK contribution to CMIP7. This first workshop has been a productive start to ensure the UK, both delivers a strong contribution to CMIP7, and reaps significant scientific benefit from the ongoing collaboration that is the foundation of CMIP7.”

Colin Jones, Workshop organiser

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