Climate Science

Model Behavior

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Science  22 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5964, pp. 395
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5964.395-a

Most of what we believe about how climate will change in the future is based on projections made by sophisticated climate models. There are currently multiple highly complex mathematical representations of the climate system, and although most of them generally make similar predictions about the future course of climate, they differ significantly in many particulars. Because it is not normally clear which models' scenarios are likely to be the most realistic, the question arises of which specific models to believe and why. Knutti et al. discuss some major sources of differences between models, how their predictive skill can be evaluated, and how confidence in their projections can be improved by combining the results of multiple models. As climate models become more complex, and the amount of data from them increases, it becomes even more important to have quantitative methods available through which to extract and synthesize information needed to guide climate policy decisions.

J. Clim. 10.1175/2009JCLI3361.1 (2009).

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