Lots of FUD about climate models get thrown around in the Climate Wars, but what is it they are really doing anyway?
The contrarians would have us believe they just take in a bunch of contrived parameters and spit out the worst case possible scenario for global average temperature increase. But the truth is the kinds of models the IPCC report on are very complex and nuanced.
Since I’m no expert and pictures are worth thousands of words, I would like to offer a few beautiful video realizations of GCM output.
The first is from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) CCSM climate model and shows a single month of global weather in 25 seconds. Aside from being a beautiful thing to watch, I find it very fascinating. (h/t MT)
Notice the incredible detail of weather patterns, the circumpolar wind current in the southern hemisphere, the flowing storm fronts, the tropical cyclone forming out of the Indian Ocean near the end, the daily pulsation of tropical precipitation over middle Africa and the Amazon rain forest. These things are not painted in after watching satellite feeds, they arise from the physics that is programmed in. I don’t claim that all the resolution and nuance you see is right out of the numbers, I am sure that graphic “dots” were connected to smooth the coarseness of the grids the model work out of. But the general correctness of the large wind patterns and storm tracks means they are doing something very right.
The next one takes much longer and is output from Japan’s Earth Simulator running the Hadley Centre’s HadGEM1 model. Unfortunately it is too long for YouTube’s 10 minute limit (I tried). You can find and view it here. (I wonder if this is the project James Annan is involved in.)
I prefer the other from a purely visual standpoint, but with this one you can watch the arctic sea ice grow and retreat.
The last is the Nonhydrostatic ICosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM), a cloud resolving model and shows a one week period.
(Source and description here
Imagine how much care and work has gone into building these virtual worlds. Now imagine the ridiculous notion of building these while artificially ensuring that no matter what else, they will scare the world into ceding control of our lives to the UN. There is no line of code in there that says IF CO2 > 450 THEN Fry(world).