FRONTIER Newsletter No.9 Jan.2000

Dr. Taroh Matsuno
Director-General of Frontier Research System for Global Change

For the Frontier Research System for Global Change (FRSGC),last year was a remarkable year.First,the Frontier Observational Research System for Global Change (FORSGC)was established in August.This is a sister system for the FRSGC and its mission is to carry out field campaign to investigate various individual processes to cause global changes and to observe regional phenomena.By its activity modelings of individual processes and regional phenomena in the FRSGC will be validated and strengthened.Thus we now have a well balanced integrated program for global change research composed of global observation by the NASDA and JAMSTEC,global modeling by use of the Earth Simulator and studies of processes and regional subsystems conducted by the FRSGC/FORSGC. Second, the new program for ecosystem change research started October 1999. By this addition, research area of the FRSGC now covers physical,chemical and biological aspects of phenomena taking place in the earth's surface environment. This means that our FRSGC has a capability to explore and model global change phenomena like global warming as an integrated system. Though real integration of all research areas is not so easy,it is important that we are now ready to start.By the way,in the future the FRSGC will include a program for studies of the solid earth limiting to those phenomena for which interactions with the atmosphere and ocean are important and also numerical modeling which is common to the rest in their methodology.

"Information System for the Global Change Prediction"
up and running

The other important development is the installation of a supercomputer. An NEC SX- 5 system whose peak performance is 128 GFLOPS started to work in November.Meanwhile at the Center for Climate System Research of the University of Tokyo and also at the Meteorological Research Institute new supercomputers came in the last March and so computer resources available to the climate research community of Japan have increased almost an order of magnitude. Moreover the Earth Simulator will be completed 2 years from now;the computer will be the world's most powerful one at that time.On the other hand,climate modeling is at a turning point at present.We must find some way which is not a simple extension from the past.Under these circumstances,being given the world's best computer resources,we the FRSGC's scientists and our colleagues in Japan have responsibility to do a challenge for making an innovation in climate modeling.Though the climate modeling community of Japan is small compared with those of the US or Europe,we shall make close cooperation by overcoming barriers among organizations to tackle this difficult problem,to open the new century of climate modeling.