Climate Models Explained

Science Matters

A comment by Dr. R.G. Brown of Duke University posted on June 11 at WUWT.

noaa climate model Overview of the structure of a state-of-the-art climate model. From the NOAA website http://www.research.noaa.gov/climate/t_modeling.html

First about the way weather models work

That is not quite what they do in GCMs. There are two reasons for this. One is that a global grid of 2 million temperatures sounds like a lot, but it’s not. Remember the atmosphere has depth, and they have to initialize at least to the top of the troposphere, and if they use 1 km thick cells there are 9 or 10 layers. Say 10. Then they have 500 million square kilometers of area to cover. Even if the grid itself has two million cells, that is still cells that contain 250 square km. This isn’t terrible — 16x16x1 km cells (20 million of them assuming they follow the usual practice of slabs 1…

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