“Global Climate Models: Any Progress on Prediction?” with Michael Previdi (7 Feb 2015)

by | Jul 21, 2023 | Climate Change, Using Data Sets

“Global Climate Models: Any Progress on Prediction?” with Michael Previdi

Originally presented 7 Feb 2015

Numerical computer models are the primary tools used to forecast future changes in Earth’s climate that may occur as a result of increasing amounts of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  These global climate models (GCMs) are based on fundamental physical principles, and they include representations of the various components of the Earth system, specifically the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, cryosphere (various forms of ice and snow), and biosphere.  In this presentation, I will discuss how GCMs are developed, evaluated with observations, and used to predict and project the future evolution of climate in response to rising greenhouse gas amounts.  Current issues at the forefront of climate modeling research will be highlighted, including the inability of most GCMs to correctly simulate the recent “hiatus” in global warming.  Finally, simple climate models, combined with output from more sophisticated , will be used to examine the sources of uncertainty in future climate predictions and projections, including physical process uncertainty, weather and climate noise, and uncertainty in future human behavior.

Mike Previdi is a Lamont Assistant Research Professor whose fields of interest include the hydrological cycle, climate dynamics, and climate change. His research interests fall under the broad heading of working to gain better understandings of the dynamic and thermodynamic controls of the atmospheric water cycle in present-day and future climates. He is also exploring atmosphere/ocean effects of annular mode, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) variability.                                                   

During the afternoon, participants will break into small groups to examine several simple classroom-oriented climate models, then share with the whole group. These are based on the CMIP5 Global Climate Change Viewer Model

“CMIP5 projections of future climate change: uncertainty and robust features” questions

“CMIP5 projections of future climate change: uncertainty and robust features” answers


Dr. Previdi’s Prior Earth2Class Workshop: How Good Are Global Climate Models? (March 2009)

Link to Dr. Previdi’s slideshow:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/zmyws4g1qkkatwv/Previdi_E2C_2015.pptx?dl=0 


Useful Educational Resources

American Meteorological Society “DataStreme Earth’s Climate System”Climate Resources for Educators

Climate Models

Climate Models and Modeling GroupsNASA Climate Model Predictions
NCAR Climate Model Predictions      NOAA Geophysical Fluids Dynamics Lab
Climate Prediction.net Nature Conservancy “Climate Wizard”

Major Climate Change Reports

National Climate Assessment (NCA) 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
AMS Statement on Climate Change US Global Climate Change Research Program

Educational Climate Models and Activities

EdGCM (Educational Global Climate Modeling)UCAR “Activities in the Middle: Global Climate Change”

Additional Selected Resources

Abrupt Climate Change Research at LDEOArctic Climate Modeling ProgramArctic Climate Modelig Program
Energy Balance Climate Model: Stella Mac and PC         Climate Models: How Reliable Are Their Predictions? (E. Barron, 1995)
EPA “Carbon Footprint” CalculatorEPA Climate Change
Student’s Guide to Climate Change Educator Resources
Lesson PlansGlobal Climate Change (Exploring the Environment)
Global Climate Change (UCAR)NOAA Climate Program Office
NOAA 200th Celebration Top Ten: The First Climate ModelGFDL R30 Model Projected Climate Changes
Students’ Guide to Alternative Fuels


What factors affect climate?” (slideshow)Climate slideshow questions
“Cornell Notes” about Climate (doc)“Cornell Notes” about Climate (pdf)
How Can We Observe, Represent, Analyze, and Compare Climate Patterns? (doc)How Can We Observe, Represent, Analyze, and Compare Climate Patterns? (pdf)


ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

Cyclical changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun, together with changes in the tilt of the planet’s axis of rotation, both occurring over hundreds of thousands of years, have altered the intensity and distribution of sunlight falling on the earth. These phenomena cause a cycle of ice ages and other gradual climate changes.(secondary to HS-ESS2-4)

ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems

ESS2.D: Weather and Climate

ESS3.D: Global Climate Change