Scientists can now study climate change in far more detail with new software released by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The Community Earth System Model (CESM) will be one of the primary climate models used for the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Source code that implements the model is available here.
The model's advanced capabilities will help scientists shed light on some of the critical mysteries of global warming, including issues such as how will patterns in the ocean and atmosphere affect regional climate and what are the effects of tiny airborne particles, known as aerosols, on clouds and temperatures?
The CESM is one of about a dozen climate models worldwide that can be used to simulate the many components of Earth's climate system, including the oceans, atmosphere, sea ice, and land cover. The CESM and its predecessors are unique among these models in that they were developed by a broad community of scientists. The model is freely available to researchers worldwide.
"With the Community Earth System Model, we can pursue scientific questions that we could not address previously," says NCAR scientist James Hurrell, chair of the scientific steering committee that developed the model. "Thanks to its improved physics and expanded biogeochemistry, it gives us a better representation of the real world."