This award provides continued funding for the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA). COLA is a climate science research center established to explore, establish and quantify the variability and predictability of Earth's climate variations on seasonal to decadal time scales, and to harvest this predictability for societally beneficial predictions. The Center is jointly funded by NSF, NOAA and NASA.
Work supported through this award includes activities devoted to 1) basic research on predictability on intraseasonal, seasonal, interannual, and decadal timescales; 2) evaluation of the predictability, skill, and fidelity of US national climate models; and 3) contributions to the development of next generation seamless prediction systems. Research performed under item 1 includes testing of land data assimilation schemes in multiple models, performing hindcasts of El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events investigate inter-event diversity of ENSO, performing dynamical prediction experiments for the Indian monsoon, and determining the dependence of drought probability on surface boundary conditions including land cover change. Work under item 2 focuses on the use of optimal spatial structures derived from information theoretic analysis, which represent the most predictable modes, or modes for which predictability differs the most between two models. This activity is intended to support climate prediction efforts at US national centers and contribute to COLA's research-to-operations effort. Work under item 3 involves collaborators at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and includes the development of optimal methods of initializing high-resolution coupled models including version 2 of the Coupled Forecast System (CFSv2), a model used operationally at NCEP.
The work has broader impacts due to its focus on research leading to improved climate prediction, given the substantial societal consequences of climate variability and change. In addition, COLA benefits the US climate research enterprise through community integration, education, seminars, workshops, and software and information services. COLA also serves an important function in transferring the results of basic climate science research on predictability and prediction into operational use.