Multiobjective constraints for climate model parameter choices: Pragmatic Pareto fronts in CESM1
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Multiobjective constraints for climate model parameter choices: Pragmatic Pareto fronts in CESM1

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
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    Global climate models (GCMs) are examples of high-dimensional input-output systems, where model output is a function of many variables, and an update in model physics commonly improves performance in one objective function (i.e., measure of model performance) at the expense of degrading another. Here concepts from multiobjective optimization in the engineering literature are used to investigate parameter sensitivity and optimization in the face of such trade-offs. A metamodeling technique called cut high-dimensional model representation (cut-HDMR) is leveraged in the context of multiobjective optimization to improve GCM simulation of the tropical Pacific climate, focusing on seasonal precipitation, column water vapor, and skin temperature. An evolutionary algorithm is used to solve for Pareto fronts, which are surfaces in objective function space along which trade-offs in GCM performance occur. This approach allows the modeler to visualize trade-offs quickly and identify the physics at play. In some cases, Pareto fronts are small, implying that trade-offs are minimal, optimal parameter value choices are more straightforward, and the GCM is well-functioning. In all cases considered here, the control run was found not to be Pareto-optimal (i.e., not on the front), highlighting an opportunity for model improvement through objectively informed parameter selection. Taylor diagrams illustrate that these improvements occur primarily in field magnitude, not spatial correlation, and they show that specific parameter updates can improve fields fundamental to tropical moist processes-namely precipitation and skin temperature-without significantly impacting others. These results provide an example of how basic elements of multiobjective optimization can facilitate pragmatic GCM tuning processes.
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    Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 9(5), 2008-2026, 2017
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