Modeling Climate

Down-scaling Climate Models Without Up-scaling Costs

A recent study published in Global and Planetary Change demonstrates cost-saving opportunities in the otherwise computationally expensive process of high-resolution climate modeling.  General Circulation Models (GCMs, occasionally also referred to as ‘global climate models’) are extremely useful tools used to understand how our climate system works.  The models use mathematical equations to describe the physics of the oceans and atmosphere.  These equations quantify, for example, how hot air tends to rise (the reason hot air balloons fly) and how the wind flows from high-pressure areas to l

Deriving Local Climate Information from Global Models

A farmer in the central USA and a fisherman in Maine will not experience global warming in the same way.  Dynamic interactions between cities, deserts, and forests mean that a rise in the global mean temperature doesn’t imply uniform warming of the planet.  As climate change advances, wind patterns and ocean currents will shift; the sea may swell in some places, while rivers run dry in others.  Global climate models make predictions on too broad a scale to recognize many of these effects, leaving policy makers unable to prepare their communities.  

Credibility of Regional Climate Model Projections of Future Climate: Issues and Challenges

Linda Mearns has served as lead or co-convening lead author on several Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace prize. Mearns is director of the Weather and Climate Impacts Assessment Science Program and a senior scientist in NCAR’s Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences.

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