Jesus College Fellow Professor Tim Palmer has this month published a paper calling for a CERN for Climate Change. In The scientific challenge of understanding and estimating climate change, co-authored with Professor Bjorn Stevens, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Professor Palmer proposes that in order to achieve a breakthrough in climate change modelling, we need to pool human and computational resources multi-nationally, in much the same way that CERN brought together resources from across the globe to enable the study of physics to move ahead, leading to the discovery of the Higgs Boson.  

Professor Palmer says, “Individual institutes do not have the resources needed to make a breakthrough in the realism and accuracy of climate modelling. The task has become too complex. Working together, we could potentially make far better predictions”.

He adds, “We see a clear need for bold initiatives to bring together computational, computer and climate scientists to co-develop modelling systems that will fully exploit emerging technologies and exa-scale computing. By comparison with new particle colliders or space telescopes, the amount needed – maybe around $100 million per year – is very modest indeed. In addition, the benefit/cost ratio to society of having a much clearer picture of the dangers we are facing in the coming decades by our ongoing actions, seems extraordinarily large.”

The full paper can be found here: 'The scientific challenge of understanding and estimating climate change' by Tim Palmer and Bjorn Stevens, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA).