So what is climateprediction.net
The climate models that scientists use today predict that there will be significant changes to the Earth's climate in the next 100 years. The problem though is that the range of predictions is very wide, so it is question of what to do about the predicted outcomes - panicking unnessarily could be just as damaging for the as deciding to do nothing.
This is where climateprediction.net comes in.
The aim of the project is to run many thousands of slightly tweaked version of a state-of-the-art climate model as a distributed computing project. Then to see which result comes back as most closely resembling actual reality. This will then be incorporated into the general climate prediction models to improve their accuracy, and hence get an answer to the question of what is going to happen to this one small planet of ours.
What's involved in running the model?
From the project's homepage1 - climateprediction.net - you download a small application file that will sit in the background on your computer and chunk its way through a climate model. The application talks occasionally to the main project site, mainly to wave hello and say that it is still running. Or more infrequently when it needs to upload a set of completed results.
The application takes its inspiration from the very successful [email protected] project in as much as it is pretty small and runs happily in the background without interfering with your computer's other functions or speed. It comes with a pretty cool user-interface if you want to see what is going on with your model. You get an image of a globe that you can spin around and see the temprature, rainfall, snow and cloud cover for that particular moment in time. Then you can watch it progress forward as it crunches its way forward through billions of calculations.
So why an h2g2 Researchers group?
Well why not?
No, in all seriousness, this is a more worthwhile use of your computer's idle processing power than the search for extraterrestrial life, as it is results affect each and everyone of his in the here and now.
To join the h2g2 group, sign up on the thread at the bottom of this page. Then go to climateprediction.net sign up as a member and download yourself a copy of the application. Next go to the 'User Area' and click on the User Community tab. From this you can find links to all the project statistics, which includes details of the various user groups that are running the software. Go through the search groups facility and look up h2g2 Researchers and sign yourself up
If you'd like to read more, you can see what the BBC News has to say about the project.
h2g2 Researchers @ climateprediction.net
Ok, Ok, so we're a bit thin on the ground at the moment. But hopefully that will change some time pretty soon...