Investigating the nexus of climate, energy, water, and land at decision-relevant scales: the Platform for Regional Integrated Modeling and Analysis (PRIMA)


The Platform for Regional Integrated Modeling and Analysis (PRIMA) is an innovative modeling system developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to simulate interactions among natural and human systems at scales relevant to regional decision making. PRIMA brings together state-of-the-art models of regional climate, hydrology, agriculture and land use, socioeconomics, and energy systems using a flexible coupling approach. Stakeholder decision support needs underpin the application of the platform to regional issues, and an uncertainty characterization process is used to identify robust decisions. The platform can be customized to inform a variety of complex questions, such as how a policy in one sector might affect the ability to meet climate mitigation targets or adaptation goals in another sector. Current numerical experiments focus on the eastern United States, but the framework is designed to be regionally flexible. This paper provides a high-level overview of PRIMA’s functional capabilities and describes some key challenges and opportunities associated with integrated regional modeling.

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The authors thank Charity Plata, Jeff London, Ying Liu, Varaprasad Bandaru, Don Daly, and Jared Chase for assistance with figures. The PRIMA initiative is part of the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a multiprogram national laboratory operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional support for the development and application of several model components (as indicated in the text) was provided by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy through the Integrated Assessment Research Program.

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Correspondence to Ian Kraucunas.

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This article is part of a Special Issue on “Regional Earth System Modeling” edited by Zong-Liang Yang and Congbin Fu.

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Kraucunas, I., Clarke, L., Dirks, J. et al. Investigating the nexus of climate, energy, water, and land at decision-relevant scales: the Platform for Regional Integrated Modeling and Analysis (PRIMA). Climatic Change 129, 573–588 (2015).

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  • Building Energy
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Regional Ocean Modeling System
  • Community Land Model
  • North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program