Viridian Climate Modelling

John Sterman
Junior Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2002 3:39 am

Viridian Climate Modelling

Post by John Sterman » Thu Nov 11, 1999 2:06 pm


The following message, forwarded by Alan AtKisson to the Balaton Group
(founded by Dana and Dennis Meadows, a group of folks committed to
a sustainable world), describes a terrific idea for distributed
The same concept is being used to factor large numbers for codebreaking,
for processing SETI data, and for other tasks. Why not use it to speed
analysis of large simulations of all types, not only climate models.

John Sterman
From: John Sterman <jsterman@MIT.EDU>

>Mime-Version: 1.0
>Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 09:51:21 EST
>From: Alan AtKisson <AtKisson@AOL.COM>
>Subject: Viridian Climate Modelling
>Comments: To: balaton@Dartmouth.EDU
>Latest fascinating entry from Bruce Sterling
>and the Viridian Listserve ... Alan
>Climate Modelling
>Key concepts: climate models, computational power,
>distributed networks
>Attention Conservation Notice: Its a great idea. You can
>skip reading this Note, clink on the link and sign up for
>action right now.
>Entries in the Viridian Solar Switchplate Contest:
> ... ctric.html
>This contest expires November 20, 01999.
>Source: NATURE magazine "Commentary" column
>14 October 1999, page 642
>"Do-it-yourself climate prediction
>"Anyone with a home PC could join climate modellers in
>their attempt to forecast how the Earths climate will
>evolve in the next century"
>by Myles Allen (
>(((Myles Allen is: "Space Science and Technology
>Department, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton,
>Didcot,OXON OX11 0QX Britain. NERC Advanced Research
>Fellow and Head, Climate Dynamics Section; Visiting Fellow
>in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, University
>of Oxford." In other words, the real article! Not a
>crank! Its a serious pitch!)))
>"As long as politicians only propose targets that they
>think they can sell to a generally indifferent electorate,
>it seems unlikely that we will achieve the order-of-
>magnitude reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions required
>to make a significant impact on the problem. And as long
>as climate research remains confined to large,
>centralized institutions, this indifference is likely to
>remain. (...)
> "Hundreds of thousands of 50-year integrations would be
>required to explore all the relevant parameter
>combinations in a full-scale climate model. This is well
>beyond the capacity of current or planned modelling
>facilities. Or is it? (...)
> "More than a million volunteers are currently scanning
>radio-telescope data on their home PCs for sings of
>extraterrestrial intelligence. Could a similar number be
>recruited for the more practical, albeit more demanding,
>task of forecasting the climate of the twenty-first
>century? (...) This in itself would be helpful for
>counteracting the powerful lobby still promoting the
>notion that there is nothing to worry about. (...) The
>ability to perform million-member ensemble simulations,
>even at relatively coarse resolution, would profoundly
>affect climate modelling."
>(((The sublime grandeur of this concept speaks for itself.
>While climate models are not a panacea, theres no
>question that Viridian computers should be chewing this
>data in their spare time. Weve got the machinery, this is
>our cause, and this well-meaning British scientist needs
>popular encouragement to get his proposal off the ground.
>Go hit his website, sign up now, and tell everybody you
>O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
>O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O