Volunteers can sign up for the project at: http://www.weatherathome.net/ and learn more about the initiative. Mote said participants can download units onto their computer and run the simulations when their computer is on, but idle. "It's like a screensaver," he pointed out.
It takes about a week to run a year-long unit of climate data and the program will automatically send finished results back to the scientists each month.
Project leaders hope creating a large network of volunteers will give them the computing power to run regional climate models that can test the efficacy of different models and determine what impacts that subtle changes may have on climate. In these regional studies, the models will be on a much finer scale than on the global climate models, and explore even more variables such as winds, cloud cover and humidity.
"This is not about simulating the weather and trying to predict storms more accurately," Mote said. "This is about looking at the complexity of climate and trying to determine which things could change and where, and how confident we are in the changes."
One major experiment involves testing different formulations of the regional climate model to simulate conditions from 1960 to 2010 and using real sea surface temperatures and measurements of sea ice, atmospheric greenhouse gases and aerosols (cloud formation) to compare those models with recorded observations a process that will help fine-tune future climate models.
Other experiments include:
|Contact: Philip Mote|
Oregon State University