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Climate models are constructed from mathematical equations that describe the behavior of its components: Atmosphere, Ocean, Ice and Land. This chapter describes the structure of a coupled climate model, including common features and concepts used across different components. Coupling is the term used to define the modeling of the interactions of the components. The equations of the climate model are programmed into a computer, much like budget-management equations are coded in a spreadsheet. The equations represent of the physical, chemical and biological laws that quantify the climate. There can be simple or comprehensive sets of equations, ranging from ‘simple’ models of the energy balance to complex models of the full climate system. The complexity in some ways mirrors the history of climate models. The construction and form of these different models are described, and the challenges of using climate models on large computers are also discussed.
For example, Neale, R. B., Chen, C. C., Gettelman, A., Lauritzen, P. H., Park, S., Williamson, D. L., et al. (2010). Description of the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM5.0). Boulder, CO: National Center for Atmospheric Research, http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/models/cesm1.0/cam/docs/description/cam5_desc.pdf.
Feynman Lectures on Physics ( http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/), Volume 1, Chaps. 44–45. Or there is always Pauken, M. (2011). Thermodynamics for Dummies. New York: Dummies Press.
The original paper: Arrhenius, S. (1896). “XXXI. On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air Upon the Temperature of the Ground.” London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 41(251): 237–276.
A good overview of the co-evolution of weather and climate models is contained in: Edwards, P. N. (2010). A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Another good reference is the description of the history of General Circulation Models in Spencer Weart’ online book The discovery of Global Warming, Harvard University Press, 2008. Available at: https://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm.
For a detailed description of the origin of digital computers, focused on von Neumann and the Princeton group (with cameo appearances by climate models), see Dyson, G. (2012). Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe. New York: Vintage.
See the infographic http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/million-lines-of-code/ contained in McCandless, D. (2014). Knowledge Is Beautiful. New York: Harper Design.
The first “bug” was thought to be a result of a moth being smashed in an electromechanical relay in the Harvard Mark II computer in 1947, according to Walter Isaacson in Chap. 3 of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. This of course would be considered a hardware, not a software, bug but the name stuck.
An updated list is maintained as the “Top 500” list: http://www.top500.org.
Data from the Top 500 list, November 2014.
See Carroll, L. (1865). Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. New York: Macmillan.
- Essence of a Climate Model
Richard B. Rood
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
- Chapter 4