Climate is a prime example of a “multi-scale” system: important phenomena occur on a spectrum of scales spanning from global circulation (104 km) to cloud-scale processes (1 cm). The SeRC Climate Modelling community has made substantial progress in modelling processes at both ends of the spectrum and understanding their cross-scale interaction.
At the global scale, we have contributed to the development of the EC-Earth global climate model (www.ec-earth.org), notably via a SeRC-funded postdoc at SU who developed a simplified, single-column version of the model to understand the impact of local cloud-scale processes on the larger scales. Together with partners at SMHI, we also conducted a large set of global-scale simulations which directly contributed to the International Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, released in 2013, which is the key document providing scientific guidance on climate change to policymakers worldwide. The availability of a dedicated climate e-Science expert has been essential in enabling these contributions.
At the small end of the spectrum, we have collaborated with the FLOW community at KTH through another SeRC-funded postdoc to apply direct-numerical-simulation methods originally developed for engineering applications to better understand how cloud turbulence helps produce rain, making an important theoretical breakthrough in this direction published in Physical Review Letters 2015.