Discovery Guides Areas


Climate Models and Global Climate Change
(Released December 2007)

  by Christopher Readinger  


Key Citations



Resources News Articles
Scholarly Journals

News Articles

  1. How can you predict global warming if you can't predict rain?
    Peter N Spotts Staff writer
    The Christian Science Monitor 10-18-2007

    To those of us who are not climate scientists, it may come down to this: How can we be so certain what the climate will be like a century from now if you can't get a decent weather forecast more than two weeks ahead? In the end, isn't climate change just too complex? True, weather forecasters are fallible, and there is no planet out there similar to Earth so we can truly gauge the effect human activity is having on our climate. But climate researchers are increasingly confident of their models and simulations. Besides, some argue, predicting the weather is tougher than predicting the climate, and scientists have been working on perfecting climate models for more than a century. In a chilled, windowless room here at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GeoA-physical Fluid DyA-A-namics Laboratory (GFDL), a supercomputer is furiously crunching numbers in an attempt to mimic Earth's climate system. . . .

    Copyright 2007. The Christian Science Monitor

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  2. Oceans signal warmer decade; Shorter prediction span in new climate model allows for better policy decisions on warming
    USA Today Times Union (Albany) 08-10-2007

    he next decade will be a hot one, according to scientists unveiling the first 10-year projection of global warming. The climate projection, pub lished in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science, suggests that a natural cooling trend in eastern and southern Pacific ocean waters has kept a lid on warming in recent years. And it will continue to do so, scientists say, but not for long. The projection spans 2007 to 2017. "At least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to be warmer than 1998, the warmest year currently on record," the researchers say in their report. Globally, that means a typical year will be about half a degree warmer than in the previous 10 years, a projection in line with findings this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel's report, the work of thousands of scientists, also predicts steadily rising temperatures. The decade covering 1996 to 2006 contained the warmest years ever recorded, with temperatures peaking in 1998 and nearly reaching that height in 2005. The significance of the new study is that over the last century, global warming has contributed to about a one-degree rise in average temperatures. The new projection suggests that in a short time - just one-tenth of that time span - the average temperature will be another half a degree higher still. The climate models used by scientists normally cover a century. One that covers a decade is an innovation that will allow more precision, says the study team led by Doug Smith of the United Kingdom's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. . . .

    The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.

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    Xinhua News Agency 08-09-2007

    WASHINGTON, Aug 9, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Global warming will speed up in the next decade and at least half of the years after 2009 will be warmer than 1998, the warmest year on record, reported a UK team of scientists in their climate predictions. The next-decade prediction results by scientists at Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in the UK is published Thursday in the U.S. academic journal Science. The team has improved the forecasting skill of a global climate model by incorporating information about the actual state of the ocean and the atmosphere, rather than the approximate ones most models use. . . .

    Copyright 2007 Xinhua News Agency (via Comtex). All rights reserved

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  4. CLIMATE CHANGE MODELS: Congressional Testimony

    . . . . In my statement today I will address the value of using climate models to assess the potential effects of global warming on the Untied States and illustrate this by reviewing the results of a recent study published by NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife on the threat posed by global warming to trout and salmon. Experimenting on the Earth`s Climate Mr. Chairman, there is only one earth. It is therefore impossible to conduct a controlled physical experiment that compares an ``experimental`` earth with elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases to a ``control`` earth with an unpolluted atmosphere. Instead we are currently conducting an uncontrolled experiment in which emissions from power plants, automobiles and other sources are adding to a thickening layer of carbon pollution in the only atmosphere we have. The problem is that if we don`t like the consequences of this experiment it will be too late to reverse them. Given our one-earth experimental design, which I don`t think even Congress has the power to change, the best approach available to us is to simulate the earth`s climate system using all available data on the composition of the atmosphere, the properties of the earth`s surface, and the conditions of the earth`s oceans combined with mathematical equations that describe the fundamental physical laws of motion and conservation of mass and energy. This is called climate modeling. . . .


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News Articles taken from ProQuest's eLibrary.

Scholarly Journals


    Jeremy S Pal, Filippo Giorgi, Xunqiang Bi, Nellie Elguindi, et al.
    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Boston: Sep 2007. Vol. 88, Iss. 9; pg. 1395, 15 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)
    Populations in economically developing nations (EDNs) depend extensively on climate for their welfare (e.g., agriculture, water resources, power generation, industry) and likewise are vulnerable to variability in the climate system, whether due to anthropogenic forcing or natural processes. [...] in the last decade the computing power of the common desktop personal computer (PC) has dramatically increased and the costs of both PCs and data storage devices have correspondingly decreased, thereby allowing EDN scientists to locally run complex climate models. Substantial contributions to model development from the RegCNET community include the implementation, testing, and refinement of the MIT convection scheme, the dust and carbon aerosol modules, and the Zeng ocean flux scheme.

    Full-text document available via ProQuest's AP Science

  2. Comparison of the Stability of the Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation in Two Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models

    Jianjun Yin, Ronald J Stouffer
    Journal of Climate. Boston: Sep 1, 2007. Vol. 20, Iss. 17; pg. 4293, 20 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)
    Two coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models developed at GFDL show differing stability properties of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project/Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project (CMIP/PMIP) coordinated "water-hosing" experiment. In contrast to the R30 model in which the "off" state of the THC is stable, it is unstable in the CM2.1. This discrepancy has also been found among other climate models. Here a comprehensive analysis is performed to investigate the causes for the differing behaviors of the THC. In agreement with previous work, it is found that the different stability of the THC is closely related to the simulation of a reversed thermohaline circulation (RTHC) and the atmospheric feedback. After the shutdown of the THC, the RTHC is well developed and stable in R30. It transports freshwater into the subtropical North Atlantic, preventing the recovery of the salinity and stabilizing the off mode of the THC. The flux adjustment is a large term in the water budget of the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast, the RTHC is weak and unstable in CM2.1. The atmospheric feedback associated with the southward shift of the Atlantic ITCZ is much more significant. The oceanic freshwater convergence into the subtropical North Atlantic cannot completely compensate for the evaporation, leading to the recovery of the THC in CM2.1. The rapid salinity recovery in the subtropical North Atlantic excites large-scale baroclinic eddies, which propagate northward into the Nordic seas and Irminger Sea. As the large-scale eddies reach the high latitudes of the North Atlantic, the oceanic deep convection restarts. The differences in the southward propagation of the salinity and temperature anomalies from the hosing perturbation region in R30 and CM2.1, and associated different development of a reversed meridional density gradient in the upper South Atlantic, are the cause of the differences in the behavior of the RTHC. The present study sheds light on important physical and dynamical processes in simulating the dynamical behavior of the THC.

    Full-text document available via ProQuest's AP Science

  3. Evaluation of the AR4 Climate Models' Simulated Daily Maximum Temperature, Minimum Temperature, and Precipitation over Australia Using Probability Density Functions

    S E Perkins, A J Pitman, N J Holbrook, J McAneney
    Journal of Climate. Boston: Sep 1, 2007. Vol. 20, Iss. 17; pg. 4356, 18 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)
    The coupled climate models used in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are evaluated. The evaluation is focused on 12 regions of Australia for the daily simulation of precipitation, minimum temperature, and maximum temperature. The evaluation is based on probability density functions and a simple quantitative measure of how well each climate model can capture the observed probability density functions for each variable and each region is introduced. Across all three variables, the coupled climate models perform better than expected. Precipitation is simulated reasonably by most and very well by a small number of models, although the problem with excessive drizzle is apparent in most models. Averaged over Australia, 3 of the 14 climate models capture more than 80% of the observed probability density functions for precipitation. Minimum temperature is simulated well, with 10 of the 13 climate models capturing more than 80% of the observed probability density functions. Maximum temperature is also reasonably simulated with 6 of 10 climate models capturing more than 80% of the observed probability density functions. An overall ranking of the climate models, for each of precipitation, maximum, and minimum temperatures, and averaged over these three variables, is presented. Those climate models that are skillful over Australia are identified, providing guidance on those climate models that should be used in impacts assessments where those impacts are based on precipitation or temperature. These results have no bearing on how well these models work elsewhere, but the methodology is potentially useful in assessing which of the many climate models should be used by impacts groups.

    Full-text document available via ProQuest's AP Science

Scholarly journals taken from ProQuest's AP Science, which includes full-text documents.
  1. Dickinson, Robert
    Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
    His current research aims to improve the understanding of global and regional climate and ecosystem system through the modeling of land, vegetation and radiative processes.

  2. Oppenheimer, Michael
    Albert G. Milbank Professor, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University
    His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change and its impacts.

  3. Ramanathan, Veerabhadran
    Professor, Climate Research Division, University of California, San Diego
    I am particularly interested in the role of human activities in global and regional climate. During the 1970s to mid 1980s, I concentrated on quantifying the greenhouse effect of gases such as carbon-dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons and ozone. Since then, myattention has turned to clouds and their feedback effects on climate. As a climate and atmospheric scientist, my research interests are primarily in the area of climate, global warming, energy budget of the atmosphere and the oceans. This work has application in understanding and modeling the role of clouds, water vapor, trace gases and aerosols in climate, with particular emphasis on the tropical oceans.

  4. Soden, Brian Jon
    Associate Professor, Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami
    Climate modeling, remote sensing, Global Climate Change, Hydrology, Remote Sensing

  5. Weaver, Andrew J.
    Professor, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria
    The role of the oceans in climate change/variability; ocean/climate modelling; paleoclimate; physical oceanography; geophysical fluid dynamics.

Scholars taken from Proquest's Community of Scholars