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NSF 11-006

Dear Colleague Letter Inviting RAPID Proposals for Analysis of Climate Model Simulations for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

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Dear Colleagues:

The Climate and Large-scale Dynamics (CLD) program is accepting proposals for one-year projects to analyze climate model simulations of present-day climate prepared in anticipation of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5). Our objective in writing this letter is to increase community-wide diagnostic research into the behavior of the current generation of coupled climate and earth system models used for future climate simulations and initialized climate predictions. Research conducted in these projects is expected to lead to more detailed model intercomparisons, better understanding of robust model behaviors, and better understanding and quantification of uncertainty in future climate simulations.

Modeling centers in the U.S. and internationally are conducting late 19th - 20th century simulation experiments and 21st - 23rd century projection experiments in support of the IPCC AR5. A wide variety of 19th - 20th century simulations will be available beginning in late 2010 from dozens of modeling centers worldwide including, in the US, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), and the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). These simulations include near-term initialized predictions, longer-term projections using a variety of forcing scenarios (in the form of both concentrations and emissions of radiatively active gases), and a number of model configurations (e.g. active carbon cycle, initialized ocean state, and high resolution "time slice" simulations with prescribed sea surface temperatures).

To promote diagnostic analysis of these simulations, we invite proposals for studies of late 19th - 20th century simulations through intercomparisons and comparisons with observations. The analysis of multiple models and ensembles is especially encouraged. Examinations of physical climate features and processes such as regional climate, climate variability and trends, modes of natural variability, hydrological cycle behavior, and extreme events are appropriate. In addition, we encourage analysis of initialized decadal hindcasts and predictions for predictability studies of the climate system on interannual to decadal time scales. Projects which evaluate the climatic effects of carbon cycle feedbacks, aerosol indirect effects, and atmospheric chemistry are also appropriate.

Model output and selected observational data sets for the research will be available from PCMDI and the Earth System Grid (see The research to be funded is expected to commence in early 2011. Successful PIs will be expected to participate in and discuss their results at the WCRP Open Science Conference ( and a special workshop focused on CMIP5 model results being planned for Spring 2012.

Research projects will be funded through the NSF Rapid Response Research (RAPID) award mechanism, which enables funding for fast-response research (see Researchers wishing to propose a project should send, via an email to Eric DeWeaver ( at the CLD program, a brief description of the proposed work, including the scope, approach, and approximate cost of the project. These emails will be shared with program managers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and researchers will be notified if their projects are of interest to either of these agencies. Researchers whose projects are of interest to the CLD program will be encouraged to submit RAPID proposals through the NSF FastLane system.

To be considered, emails must be received by 5:00 pm, submitter's local time, Friday, November 12, 2010. It is anticipated that the majority of awards will not exceed $30,000, and that 10 to 15 awards will be made.


Eric T. DeWeaver
Program Director
Climate and Large-scale Dynamics Program