Global Climate Change Program

Research on climate change has been developed in São Paulo State for at least the last 30 years. In 2008, the FAPESP Research Program on Global Climate Change (RPGCC) was established in order to further advance the understanding of the consequences of global climate and environmental changes in the state and in Brazil.

The program supports research projects for up to 6 years. One of its major goals is to put together a Brazilian Model of the Global Earth System by 2013 with a focus on key regional issues such as the Amazon, Cerrado and South Atlantic regions. It also aims to model the different components of the climate system such as the atmosphere, the biosphere, the oceans, the cryosphere, the aerosols and the land surface processes. It will be a necessary step toward better understanding the role the Brazilian climate plays in global changes.

In order to develop the project, FAPESP and the Ministry of Science and Technology acquired a high performance supercomputer which places the country among the world’s most important centers for climatic studies with the capacity to create and analyze global climatic models. The equipment — named Tupã for a god in native Brazilian mythology — has peak performance of 244 teraflops (trillions of floating point operations per second) executed at 1,272 nodes, each with a maximum speed of 192 gigaflops per second. The new system incorporates recent advances in the areas of numerical modeling, climate change modeling, data assimilation, chemicals and aerosols, atmosphere, oceans and vegetation.

The model will conduct analysis on the interactions between the elements of the terrestrial system in order to understand the influence of anthropogenic actions – like greenhouse gas emissions – on changes in vegetation and the effects of urbanization on the climate. Studies on the nitrogen and carbon cycles in nature and their impact on agriculture and livestock are also among research topics.