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Developing capacity in process assessment and improvement in NZESM through the use of the single column version of the model

The New Zealand Earth System Model (NZESM) is a powerful tool for simulating the climate system in the “Deep South”. However, its complexity can make it difficult to assess how well NZESM represents some physical processes occurring in the real world. The single column version of NZESM reduces this complexity and runs 22,000 times faster than the full model, thus allowing easier validation of different processes with NZESM. The project’s primary aim is to show how the model can be used to calculate surface and top-of-the-atmosphere radiances from vertical profile measurements of temperature, pressure, water vapour and ozone. The initial focus will be on measurements from Scott Base (including Arrival Heights) and the AWARE (Atmospheric Radiation Measurement, West Antarctica Radiation Experiment) campaign at McMurdo. This project will contribute to the DSC mission by developing an independent and cost-effective means to assess and validate the physical processes in NZESM essential for simulating the climate of the Deep South.

One of the key outputs from this project was a software tool to create the input datasets required to run the model.  We call this the Single-column model Namelist Auto-Generator (SNAG). The code is available on

A user-friendly guide the Single Column version of the New Zealand Earth System Model was also produced. This report is available to collaborators within the UM consortium on request to