David Neelin, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, is leading a new multi-institutional research project that has been awarded a $1.63 million grant by NOAA Research’s MAPP Program to create a one-stop shop of diagnostic tools for scientists to help streamline the process for improving their weather and climate models. “Diagnostics” refers to finding the best way to analyze observations and make sure every step of the physical process is well understood and represented in the scientific models.

Neelin and his research team will use the grant to find new diagnostics for “targeted model improvements” and to develop an open-source framework to bring together innovative diagnostics from multiple institutions that are easily available for model developers and the laboratories that run the computer model simulations. With this framework, Neelin said that whenever a laboratory runs a model simulation, the scientists will be able to rapidly analyze how accurately various aspects of the model are compared with observations in a way that provides in-depth information.

“Weather and climate models are an important part of NOAA's mission,” Neelin said. “It is important for models to be scrutinized in comparison to observations in a way that leads to improving them and helps to respond to the ever-increasing demands for accurate simulation and prediction placed upon them.”

In addition to NOAA’s geophysical fluid dynamics laboratory, this project involves the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Department of Energy Lawrence Livermore National Lab, and multiple universities.