Articles | Volume 9, issue 9
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 3161–3176, 2016
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 3161–3176, 2016

Model evaluation paper 15 Sep 2016

Model evaluation paper | 15 Sep 2016

The weather@home regional climate modelling project for Australia and New Zealand

Mitchell T. Black1, David J. Karoly1, Suzanne M. Rosier2, Sam M. Dean2, Andrew D. King1, Neil R. Massey3, Sarah N. Sparrow4, Andy Bowery4, David Wallom4, Richard G. Jones3,5, Friederike E. L. Otto3, and Myles R. Allen3 Mitchell T. Black et al.
  • 1School of Earth Sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 3Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  • 4Oxford e-Research Centre, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  • 5Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK

Abstract. A new climate modelling project has been developed for regional climate simulation and the attribution of weather and climate extremes over Australia and New Zealand. The project, known as weather@home Australia–New Zealand, uses public volunteers' home computers to run a moderate-resolution global atmospheric model with a nested regional model over the Australasian region. By harnessing the aggregated computing power of home computers, weather@home is able to generate an unprecedented number of simulations of possible weather under various climate scenarios. This combination of large ensemble sizes with high spatial resolution allows extreme events to be examined with well-constrained estimates of sampling uncertainty. This paper provides an overview of the weather@home Australia–New Zealand project, including initial evaluation of the regional model performance. The model is seen to be capable of resolving many climate features that are important for the Australian and New Zealand regions, including the influence of El Niño–Southern Oscillation on driving natural climate variability. To date, 75 model simulations of the historical climate have been successfully integrated over the period 1985–2014 in a time-slice manner. In addition, multi-thousand member ensembles have also been generated for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 under climate scenarios with and without the effect of human influences. All data generated by the project are freely available to the broader research community.

Short summary
This study presents a citizen science computing project, known as weather@home Australia–New Zealand, which runs climate models on thousands of home computers. By harnessing the power of volunteers' computers, this project is capable of simulating extreme weather events over Australia and New Zealand under different climate scenarios.