Atmosphere Ocean Science Colloquium

AI, quantum and reduced precision: routes to efficient next-generation climate simulators?

Speaker: Prof. Tim Palmer, University of Oxford

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2023, 3:30 p.m.


IPCC-class CMIP climate models do not appear adequate for providing actionable information about climate adaptation, particularly in the Global South. I argue that we need an unprecedented type of international collaboration to produce a new class of global climate model with km-scale resolution. However, never minding the politics of such international collaboration, is it even feasible scientifically? Some argue that, given the need for large ensembles, it is impossible to realise this goal. I discuss and evaluate three potential means to improve the computational efficiency of climate models: reduced precision, quantum technology and AI. Two of these show remarkable promise - though unfortunately there is a likely impenetrable barrier for applying quantum technology to the big-data problem of weather and climate prediction. I conclude the goal of global km-scale multi-decadal prediction is feasible scientifically and technically, we just need the collective will to make it happen.