After posting about SETI@home, we ran across another distributed computing project that is more up our alley. Enter ClimatePrediction.net.
The aim of climateprediction.net is to investigate the approximations that have to be made in state-of-the-art climate models. By running the model thousands of times (a 'large ensemble') we hope to find out how the model responds to slight tweaks to these approximations - slight enough to not make the approximations any less realistic.
This will allow us to explore how climate may change in the next century under a wide range of different scenarios. In the past estimates of climate change have had to be made using one or, at best, a very small ensemble (tens rather than thousands!) of model runs. By using your computers, we will be able to improve our understanding of, and confidence in, climate change predictions more than would ever be possible using the supercomputers currently available to scientists.
You can sign up for an account on their site, and download the BOINC software (hee hee), which was developed by SETI and can be used to share your computer's processing power over multiple distributed computing projects. They also provide some answers about how your participation in the project works. The project is intriguing and may conjure up memories of The Day After Tomorrow with all of the talk about climate models, but fear not, we will not use our body heat to warm you.