Examples of grid box systems used in GCMS. On left is a latitude-longitude grid with dots representing grid cell centers. On right, is a geodesic grid with a color-coded plot of observed sea-surface temperatures.
Bloom (2010) Global Climate Change: Convergence of Disciplines, Sinauer Assoc.
Global climate system models have a coarse spatial resolution (for example, typical Atmospheric general circulation models have spatial resolution of 200 km in the...
The Divide and Conquer Method: How Climate Models WorkLast Updated on 2010-12-19 00:00:00
Potentates from King Philip II of Macedon (382 B.C.–336 B.C.) to the present day have espoused a philosophy of divide and conquer as a solution to the world’s problems. In computer science, a divide-and-conquer algorithm is one that splits a problem into an ever greater number of related subproblems until the solution to each becomes relatively simple.
GCMs follow this philosophy in several respects. First, GCMs divide the planet into a minimum of two compartments, atmosphere and ocean. Many GCMs also treat sea ice and land separately. Each compartment has its own model that characterizes processes intrinsic to the compartment and transfers of material and energy with other compartments. These models are in themselves large computer programs (having more than 100,000 lines of code) that undergo independent development. For example, atmosphere models may derive from... More »
Downscaling and Regional Climate ModelsLast Updated on 2010-02-18 00:00:00
Global climate system models have a coarse spatial resolution (for example, typical Atmospheric general circulation models have spatial resolution of 200 km in the horizontal and ocean general circulation models on the order of 100 km in the horizontal). This spatial resolution is not adequate for modeling regional climate. Therefore to obtain greater resolution on a regional scale, methods known a "downscaling" are used.
This article is drawn from Chapter 3 of CCSP, 2008: Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research [Bader D.C., C. Covey, W.J. Gutowski Jr., I.M. Held, K.E. Kunkel, R.L. Miller, R.T. Tokmakian and M.H. Zhang (Authors)]. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Washington, D.C., USA, 124... More »
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