Climate model  

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In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report concluded, "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century." The largest human influence has been the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. In view of the dominant role of human activity in causing it, the phenomenon is sometimes called "anthropogenic global warming" or "anthropogenic climate change." Climate model projections summarized in the report indicated that during the 21st century, the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further depending on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. These findings have been recognized by the national science academies of the major industrialized nations.

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Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the important drivers of climate, including atmosphere, oceans, land surface and ice. They are used for a variety of purposes from study of the dynamics of the climate system to projections of future climate.

All climate models take account of incoming energy from the sun as short wave electromagnetic radiation, chiefly visible and short-wave (near) infrared, as well as outgoing long wave (far) infrared electromagnetic. Any imbalance results in a change in temperature.

Models vary in complexity:

  • A simple radiant heat transfer model treats the earth as a single point and averages outgoing energy
  • This can be expanded vertically (radiative-convective models) and/or horizontally
  • Finally, (coupled) atmosphere–ocean–sea ice global climate models solve the full equations for mass and energy transfer and radiant exchange.
  • Box models can treat flows across and within ocean basins.
  • Other types of modelling can be interlinked, such as land use, allowing researchers to predict the interaction between climate and ecosystems.

Box models

Box models are simplified versions of complex systems, reducing them to boxes (or reservoirs) linked by fluxes. The boxes are assumed to be mixed homogeneously. Within a given box, the concentration of any chemical species is therefore uniform. However, the abundance of a species within a given box may vary as a function of time due to the input to (or loss from) the box or due to the production, consumption or decay of this species within the box.

Simple box models, i.e. box model with a small number of boxes whose properties (e.g. their volume) do not change with time, are often useful to derive analytical formulas describing the dynamics and steady-state abundance of a species. More complex box models are usually solved using numerical techniques.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Climate model" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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