Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Science Program Issues Report On Climate Models

Date:
August 1, 2008
Source:
DOE/US Department of Energy
Summary:
A new report evaluates computer models of the Earth's climate and their ability to simulate current climate change.

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) has released a new report "Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations," the 10th in a series of 21 Synthesis and Assessment Products (SAPs) managed by U.S. federal agencies.

Developed under the leadership of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this report, SAP 3.1, describes computer models of the Earth's climate and their ability to simulate current climate change.

"Complex climate models are tools that provide insights and knowledge into how future climate may evolve. To assure that future climate projections are used appropriately, it is crucial to understand what current models can simulate well, and where models need improvements," said David Bader, with DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the coordinating lead author for this SAP report. "This report makes an important contribution in helping to describe and explain the current state of high-end climate modeling for the non-specialist."

The SAP 3.1 report describes complex mathematical models used to simulate the Earth's climate on some of the most powerful supercomputers, and assesses their ability to reproduce observed climate features, and their sensitivity to changes in conditions such as atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. The report notes that "the science of climate modeling has matured through finer spatial resolution, the inclusion of a greater number of physical processes, and through comparison to a rapidly expanding array of observations." The authors find that the "models have important strengths and limitations." The report assesses how well models simulate the recent observational period; it does not deal with climate change predictions.

The report organizes the discussion of these strengths and limitations around a series of questions, including: What are the major components and processes of the climate system that are included in present state-of-the-art climate models? How uncertain are climate model results? How well do climate models simulate natural variability? How well do climate models simulate regional climate variability and change?

The report documents the improvement in climate model fidelity over the past decade. As emphasized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), modern models faithfully simulate continental to global scale temperature patterns and trends observed during the 20th century. Despite this progress, a number of systematic biases across the set of climate models remain, particularly in the simulation of regional precipitation. On smaller geographic scales, when compared against the current climate, the simulated climate varies substantially from model to model. The report notes that "an average over the set of models clearly provides climate simulation superior to any individual model," and concludes that "no current model is superior to others in all respects, but rather different models have differing strengths and weaknesses."

The report also describes "downscaling," which is the use of methodologies to generate higher resolution information from global models results for applications on the regional and local scales. Several downscaling examples such as applications focusing on water resources and surface climate change are illustrated to demonstrate how model results can be applied to a diverse set of problems.

To develop the SAP 3.1, DOE chartered a Federal Advisory Committee comprised of 29 members drawn from academia, government scientists, non-profit and for-profit organizations that drafted and oversaw the review of the report in accordance with the CCSP guidelines. The lead authors include David Bader (coordinating lead author) and Curt Covey, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; William J. Gutowski Jr., Iowa State University; Isaac Held, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory; Kenneth Kunkel, Illinois State Water Survey; Ronald Miller, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Robin Tokmakian, Naval Postgraduate School; and Minghua Zhang, State University of New York, Stony Brook. SAP 3.1 is the third and final SAP that DOE coordinated for the CCSP.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/US Department of Energy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

DOE/US Department of Energy. "Climate Change Science Program Issues Report On Climate Models." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731173127.htm>.
DOE/US Department of Energy. (2008, August 1). Climate Change Science Program Issues Report On Climate Models. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731173127.htm
DOE/US Department of Energy. "Climate Change Science Program Issues Report On Climate Models." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731173127.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins