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Abstract

Climate models simulate the atmosphere, given atmospheric composition and energy from the sun, and include explicit modeling of, and exchanges with, the underlying oceans, sea ice, and land. The models are based on physical principles governing momentum, thermodynamics, cloud microphysics, radiative transfer, and turbulence. Climate models are evolving into Earth-system models, which also include chemical and biological processes and afford the prospect of links to studies of human dimensions of climate change. Although the fundamental principles on which climate models are based are robust, computational limits preclude their numerical solution on scales that include many processes important in the climate system. Despite this limitation, which is often dealt with by parameterization, many aspects of past and present climate have been successfully simulated using climate models, and climate models are used extensively to predict future climate change resulting from human activity.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.environ.33.020707.160752
2008-11-21
2024-06-23
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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