Climate Modeling Initiative

MIT’s Climate Modeling Initiative is a collaboration between scientists at MIT, coordinated by the Center for Global Change Science, to develop a modeling infrastructure for the study of the atmosphere, ocean and climate of the Earth.

An approach that emphasizes modeling hierarchies is pursued, bridging from simple to complex, but based on a common set of modeling tools.
The development focus of CMI is MITgcm, a hydrodynamical model that can be used to study both the atmosphere and ocean.
Our approach is wide-ranging encompassing algorithmic, computational, physical, biogeochemical and technological innovations, drawing together elements of computational fluid dynamics, statistics, meteorology, oceanography and computer science.

The climate system is extremely complex, involving so many different components and interacting processes, that even with the biggest, fastest computers it is not possible to come close to representing all of them accurately.To make progress it is essential to improve the understanding of fundamental physical, chemical, and biological processes that control climate. We do this by studying key processes in isolation and then bringing them together. Current focus areas are:

  • Climate Dynamics
  • Self-Assembling Ecosystem Models
  • Ice-ocean-climate interactions
  • Ocean state estimation

The movie depicts the 3D temperature field evolving over a period of one year. The model is a zonally-periodic channel domain meant to represent the ACC, forced with wind stress and heating at the surface. The forcing leads to a baroclinically-unstable mean state, which produces the vigorous mesoscale eddies seen in the movie.

The Climate Modeling Initiative is directed by John Marshall.



Phone: 617-253-9614

Principal Investigators

Prof. John C. Marshall
CMI Director