Climate change, and our response to it, are issues of global importance, affecting food production, water resources, ecosystems, energy demand, insurance costs and much else. The Climate Prediction News Compendiumis a set of interesting links on the science and the effects of global warming. There is a broad scientific consensus that the Earth will probably warm over the coming century; climateprediction.net should, for the first time, tell us what is most likely to happen.
Climateprediction.net, or CPDN for short, is the largest experiment to try and produce a forecast of the climate in the 21st century. It is a distributed computing project developed by scientists from Oxford University, the Met Office, the Open University, Rutherford Appleton Labs, Tessella Support Services plc and others. It runs on the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) architecture which hosts many different distributed computing projects.
By using the computers of many people around the world, it is possible to improve our understanding of, and confidence in, climate change predictions more than would ever be possible using the supercomputers currently available to scientists.
There are versions for Windows XP and 2000, Linux/X86 and Mac OS X Intel. CPU speed is most important although memory bandwidth also affects the processing speed somewhat.
The current model is a HadCM3L Coupled Model also known as a Transient Coupled Model. A model takes a long time to complete but it is not necessary to access the internet a lot, although if you stay online stats will be reported to the server daily. Points are credited whenever these stats are reported to the server, so you do not have to wait a long time to complete a model to receive any points and you do not lose these points if the model becomes unstable or crashes. A HadCM3L Coupled Model requires about 400MB disk space to start and about 600MB in total. The application files are a 35MB download.
Climate Prediction requires a faster computer than other distributed computing projects. The current model requires a CPU at least as powerful as a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium 4 and minimum memory of 512MB. As an example my Athlon 64 @2,250 MHz will take about 89 CPU days to complete a HadCM3L Coupled Model using WinXP.
If you've got some spare computing power and want to know what the climate will be like in the future, or if you are interested in atmospheric science or applied mathematics, or you just want to help team Overclockers Australia fight its way up the rankings then feel free to join us. More details about the experiment and the downloads can be found at www.climateprediction.net. There is also a Climateprediction.net Wiki.
To join the Overclockers Australia team after you have created your account, just visit the Overclockers Australia team pageand click the "Join This Team" link.