There are a variety of climate models, and their use depends on a variety of factors including: the area of study or the complexity of the model. Some climate models represent particular climate processes with more detail than others. For a model to explore ocean processes it is not necessary to include vegetation and soil processes. Ignoring these processes allows the model to run faster, which can be an advantage. Climate models vary depending on the processes they represent. It... View Article
A climate scenario is a plausible representation of future climate. It can be used to investigate the potential impacts of climate change. What is a climate model simulation? A climate model simulation is a representation of the real-world climate system, created using mathematical equations and solved on a computer. They are used to replicate the behaviour of the system under various conditions. The accuracy and utility of a model simulation depends on aspects including how natural climate variability is simulated,... View Article
Climate model resolution refers to the size and complexity of the data calculated by supercomputers to help us understand the weather and climate. “Resolution” is a concept we see in our everyday lives but might not even realise. Have you ever seen a picture on the internet and thought it looks blocky or fuzzy? Computers break pictures down into small squares called “pixels”. The more squares or pixels a computer uses, the more detail you can see in a picture,... View Article
A weather system can be described by how quantities such as the speed, pressure and temperature of the gases behave in the atmosphere, and the water behaves in the ocean. These quantities move in 3-dimensional space. A large number of complex mathematical equations describe their behaviour. However, they are too complex to solve by hand, or on a personal computer. Climate models need a lot of computing power. Supercomputers provide an extremely powerful, fast environment with many thousands of processing... View Article
Researchers run models by setting a starting condition. For example, for a model toy car – did it start on a flat surface or on a hill and how hard was it pushed? With a climate model we can set the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and see what effect this has on temperature. We know that temperature increases by a certain amount depending on the amount of greenhouse gases. The equations that represent this relationship are solved... View Article
Yes. Climate models are computer programs which simulate the climate or weather patterns over time. They can be used to estimate the Earth’s climate under different conditions by running simulations. Climate model computer programs use techniques that divide the atmosphere, land, ocean and ice into layered boxes or grid cells to create a 3-dimensional framework. Each grid cell represents a section of the atmosphere, land or ocean. The results of processes modelled in each grid cell influence neighbouring cells. For... View Article
Greenhouse gases trap the heat in the atmosphere. They keep the surface temperature of the Earth warmer, acting as insulation. As the sun warms the Earth, it causes the surface to radiate heat which is absorbed by greenhouse gases. The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, ozone and water vapour. These gases absorb the infrared radiation causing the temperature to rise. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of Earth’s surface would be freezing, about -18C.
Climate models are computer programs which simulate the climate or weather patterns over time. They can be used to estimate the Earth’s climate under different conditions by running simulations. Climate models are powerful tools for simulating, analysing and understanding the Earth’s climate. They are used to understand how our planet is changing and are fundamental to climate science. They help us understand how the climate is affected by emissions, economic growth, technological developments, and political and social change. They can... View Article
Climate change refers to any long-term trend in the climate. Anthropogenic climate change references changes due to human causes.
Climate variability is a transient change in the climate, above or below the long term average. This can occur on different timescales. Natural variability is the main reason for year to year differences in our climate. There are many different processes that interact to influence the climate we experience. Natural variability refers to changes in the climate that occur due to factors other than human influence. These include processes such as large scale climate modes like the El Niño Southern... View Article