Regional Earth System Modeling

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century is understanding how changes in the balance of nutrients—carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus—in soil, water, and air affect the functioning of ecosystems, atmospheric chemistry, and human health.


Project Goal

  • Improve understanding of the interactions among carbon, nitrogen, and water at the regional scale, in the context of global change, to inform decision makers' strategies regarding natural and agricultural resource management.



  • Create a regional modeling framework for the Pacific Northwest by integrating a network of state-of-the-art process-based models that are currently in existence and that are undergoing continuous development. The framework includes atmospheric models (for meteorology and atmospheric chemistry), land surface models (for hydrology, cropping systems, and biogeochemical cycling), aquatic models (for reservoir operations and nutrient export in rivers), and economic models.


This project's mission is to:

  • develop skill in integrated modeling of biogeochemical cycles,
  • explicate potentially important responses to climate variability,
  • understand the information needs of both resource managers and stakeholders, and
  • forge among them a partnership founded on a common understanding of our region's dependence on regional biospheric health.



  • By choosing among the most sophisticated models for each earth system component, and either linking or fully integrating these models into a biosphere relevant earth system model (Bio-EaSM), the integrated modeling framework can be continually improved as each contributory component develops.



  • WRF for meteorology
  • CMAQ for atmospheric chemistry and transport
  • ColSim for reservoir and dam operations
  • VIC for hydrology
  • CropSyst for agricultural dynamics
  • RHESSys for natural ecosystem dynamics
  • MEGAN for natural gas and aerosol emissions
  • NEWS for aquatic nutrient transport and
  • CREM for economic interactions.


End Product

  • The end product will be a state-of-science regional earth system modeling framework that explicitly addresses nitrogen and carbon flows in the context of inter-annual and decadal climate variability. Relevance and utility to decision-makers will be enhanced through integrated stakeholder input throughout model development.

Land-Atmosphere Model Linkages

Diagram of land-atmosphere model linkages
(click to enlarge)

  BioEarth Prezi

  BioEarth Overview

  BioEarth Calendar

Partner Institutions:

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Oregon State University

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of Vermont

Washington State University


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, PO Box 642910, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2910
ph: 509-335-7751, fax: 509-335-7632, Contact Us