Modeling Climate

Climate Change: It's the Variability, Stupid

Studies evaluating the impact of climate change have mostly focused on the effects of mean changes in climate. This approach may severely underestimate the vulnerability of human society to anthropogenic-driven climate change. This is because the biological and agricultural sectors are also affected by changes in climate variability and extreme events. A recent article by Thornton et al. (2014) reviews our current understanding on the topic and highlights significant gaps in the research. Expected changes due to climate…

Projecting the Impact of Climate Change on Primary Production

A new study considers the complications of projecting impacts on carbon uptake by Earth ecosystems as the planet warms. The synthesis of organic compounds by primary producers from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide is known as primary production. Almost all organisms on Earth directly or indirectly depend on it. Global primary production (GPP) is defined as the amount of chemical energy…

Global Decadal Hydroclimate Variability in Observations and Models. Richard Seager

Climate scientists and climate models are in agreement that hydro-climate around the world will change as a result of rising greenhouse gas emissions.  Considering radiative forcing components only, dry places should get drier and wet ones wetter.  Are these changes already underway, however, and what is the significance of these trends vs natural variability?

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

A Workshop on Uncertainty in Climate Change: Introduction & Opening Remarks. Ken Gillingham

Yale Professor Ken Gillingham welcomes participants in this YCEI sponsored workshop that brings together climate change scientists and economists whose modeling efforts hinge on the need to accommodate anticipated climate change in a warming world.  

He sets the stage for the day’s conversations by reviewing the just released IPCC 5th Assessment Report, some of its findings, and the unique language that the IPCC uses to describe uncertainty in climate sensitivity, the key parameter that concerns economists and climate scientists.

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.  


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