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Weather Models, Climate Models, Observations, and Parallel Earths

23/05/2020 @ 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT


This presentation has since taken place, you can view the film recording here


Image: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, NOAA


Weather Models, Climate Models, Observations, and Parallel Earths

Weather models and climate models share some core algorithms. They also share algorithms with the models used to obtain properties of the atmosphere and surface from satellite observations. There are differences also, largely a reflection of different spans of time. All three depend on local observations but in different ways.


FLUXNET: Net Ecosystem Exchange CO2, latent and sensible heat for 1992 at Harvard Forest: Total (blue), Day (red), Night (green). [Climate Data Guide; D. Shea]





Satellite observations can be effectively instantaneous, many acquired within a single day. Climate model runs span years, requiring inclusion of seasonal changes and feedbacks of surface and ocean. Weather models are only able to predict the weather up to about two-weeks into the future before the actual weather and the model weather diverge. This does not mean that the weather the model creates is unrealistic. A person on a parallel Earth with the model’s weather wouldn’t be able to tell from the weather alone that they weren’t on our Earth. That’s a bridge between weather modeling and climate modeling.










By Keith Eric Grant

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Climate Change panel can be found here

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10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT




Chantal Jager

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