New Computer Model Advances Climate Change Research
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado has released powerful new computer software so scientists can study climate change in much more detail than ever before. The Community Earth System Model (CESM) will be one of the main climate models used in the next research report put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The new model will help scientists understand some of the critical mysteries of global warming, including:
- What impact will warming temperatures have on the huge ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica?
- How will patterns in the ocean and atmosphere affect regional climate in the future?
- How will climate change impact tropical cyclones, including hurricanes?
- How will tiny airborne particles, known as aerosols, affect clouds and temperatures?
The CESM is one of about a dozen climate models around the world that can be used to study the many components of Earth's climate system, including the oceans, atmosphere, sea ice, and land cover. The CESM was developed by a large community of scientists and is freely available to researchers worldwide.
"With the Community Earth System Model, we can pursue scientific questions that we could not address previously," says NCAR scientist James Hurrell, chair of the group of scientists that developed the model.
Climate scientists rely on computer models to better understand Earth's climate system because they cannot conduct large-scale experiments on the atmosphere itself.