Scientists from the Ural Federal University with their European colleagues verified ECHAM6-wiso, the sixth and newest version of the supercomputer model of the global atmospheric circulation. The model was created at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg (Germany). The work was first carried out in the region of the Urals and Western Siberia; carried out within the framework of the breakthrough project of UrFU titled ‘An integrated system of climate-ecological monitoring, development and production of new technique and multiscale modelling of Russian Arctic’.
It differs from previous versions of ECHAM6-wiso in that it simulates the interaction of the atmosphere with soil, including at a depth of 7.5 m. The model is a network of cells, each of which reflects the state of the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface over an area of about 105 square meters. km. The mission of the model is based on historical data bases (formed over several decades) and current information, to carry out detailed and reliable forecasts of climate change, especially in areas of concentration of population and infrastructure.
In the course of verification, scientists used the data obtained using PICARRO laser spectrometers. Spectrometers are installed at Arctic stations in the cities of Labytnangi (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, 2013) and Igarka (Krasnoyarsk Territory, 2015); they measure the relative concentration of isotopologues (types of molecules) of water in water vapor in the surface layers of the atmosphere all year round. The spectrometers deployed on Russian territory (one more operates on Samoilovsky Island in the Lena River delta) are a segment of the Panarctic Network for continuous monitoring of isotopic tracers of the atmospheric water cycle. These carry information about changes in the atmospheric water cycle as a result of climatic transformations. The essence of the verification is that the ECHAM6-wiso calculations are compared with the graphs of hourly indicators taken from spectrometers operating in the Arctic regions of Siberia.
Another group of information comes from sensors on five key areas of the tundra and forest-tundra of South Yamal, 100-200 km from Labytnanga, according to the main types of soil and vegetation. Sensors, 7 years ago, immersed in the ground at various depths of up to one meter, hourly measure the temperature and humidity, recording the processes taking place in the vast territory of the Polar Urals and Siberia. Thus, scientists determine the intensity and factors of seasonal thawing of the active layer of permafrost. For example, it turned out that a significant contribution to thawing is made not so much by high temperatures as by precipitation: even in cool, but rainy periods, the thawing depth is greater than in hot and dry ones.
“The verification results showed that ECHAM6-wiso reproduces data from laser spectrometers in Labytnagi and Igarka better than the previous model ECHAM5-wiso, but it reproduces data from sensors at key sites in South Yamal unsatisfactorily,” commented the head of the project “Monitoring and Prediction of cryosystems of the Arctic “, Professor of the Department of Astronomy, Geodesy, Ecology and Environmental Monitoring Vyacheslav Zakharov.
The reason is probably that the model is tuned according to the previously introduced thermophysical characteristics of the soil, typical for other Arctic regions, the scientist believes.
“In cooperation with colleagues from the Institute of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the Ural Federal University and the Institute of Software Systems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, we submitted an application for the“ Hardware and software complex of climatic-ecological monitoring of the Arctic cryosystem ”for a mega-grant from the Government of the Russian Federation. If the application receives support, this will allow us to speed up research and adjust the parameters of the ECHAM6-wiso model so that it correctly reproduces the data we receive in Siberia, ”says Vyacheslav Zakharov.
At the same time, verification of the data of the Japanese satellite TANSO-FTS / GOSAT, which monitors the concentration of carbon-containing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, showed that this satellite correctly displays the results of ground-based sounding of the atmosphere with an infrared Fourier spectrometer at the Kourovka Astronomical Observatory of the UrFU (Sverdlovsk Region).
Unfortunately, the data of long-term monitoring of the Arctic atmosphere and soil indicate an escalation of global warming: in the Arctic it is going twice as fast as in the whole world.
“Various monitoring stations operate in Alaska, Greenland, Svalbard. The collected data indicate strong changes in the temperature of permafrost, says Vyacheslav Zakharov. – In particular, in the north of Alaska, as shown by measurements in a well at a depth of 20 m, half a century ago it was about -90 ° С, now it is about -5.50 ° С. The time is not far off when a warming climate and an increase in precipitation will lead to tens of meters deep thawing of permafrost and decomposition of organic materials. The release as a result of this huge volumes of carbon dioxide and methane will give a strong impetus to further warming.”
According to modern forecasts, by 2050 there will be periods when the Arctic Ocean will be completely free of ice in summer. Reducing ice the earth’s cap ”will reduce the reflective effect and increase the heating of the ocean. Considering that there is 80-100 times more carbon dioxide in the World Ocean than in the Earth’s atmosphere, and water heating leads to the emission of carbon dioxide, this further intensifies global warming.
The main cause of global warming is the growing greenhouse effect, the rapid increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, absorbing thermal radiation from the earth in the lower atmosphere. According to Vyacheslav Zakharov, over the past century and a half, the content of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 1.5 times, methane – by 2.5. Science has established that this is a record dynamics for 800 thousand years. Since it was in the previous 150 years that mankind actively cut down forests, built and developed cities, erected industrial facilities and power plants, produced vehicles, burned coal, oil and gas, scientists conclude that the responsibility for global warming lies primarily on the anthropogenic factor.
“Emissions are not decreasing and even growing, despite any international agreements. The situation looks like a dead end. In this regard, the task of climate models is no longer just to record the manifestations of global warming, but to predict its consequences with the maximum possible accuracy in time and place in order to evacuate people and dismantle infrastructure in advance. Therefore, our research, as a part of a large international project, has, without exaggeration, global significance,” sums up Prof. Zakharov.