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# How are climate models predicted?

Afaceinthematrix
Right now I am taking a course called Chaos and Dynamical Systems. Along with Partial Differential Equations and Fractal Geometry, this has been one of the most interesting courses I've taken. I also enjoyed Real Analysis and Complex analysis because of their importance (essentially ever single proof you do in PDEs, Chaos and Dynamical Systems, and Fractal Geometry has been a proof that has used a ton of analysis). It also just so happens that my three favorite classes are all heavily intertwined - especially chaos and dynamical systems and PDEs. There are quite a few ordinary and partial differential equations in dynamical systems.

But one thing that has really been making me wonder are climate models. There are plenty of climate models for climate change but I was wondering, how are they really made? I've studied some weather - especially the work on Lorenz - and found out that weather is a chaotic dynamical system that makes it impossible to predict long term. So now I've been wondering about climate. To me, it seems like it must also be a chaotic system. There are so many variables that work in different ways and some variables must be more powerful than others but then some variables probably affect other variables and I'm sure a bunch of other strange stuff happens. For instance, we have a warming trend. It seems like that may cause more evaporation over the oceans which would create more clouds which cause global dimming which reduces temperature however clouds (I've heard) also trap heat in.

Does anyone know where I can find (online or a book I can purchase) a resource that will really help me understand climate models because I know they can't be just based off of carbon levels and it seems like it must be a chaotic system...
Ankhanu
You likely won't find any books, though there are a couple scientific journals dedicated to the subject. Modeling isn't something I'm very familiar with, so I don't know which journals to look into. I suggest asking your profs.
brandon02852
There are many ways to determine climate patterns:

One can observe tree rings to tell when there was drought.
One can observe ice cores to tell certain climatic events.
One can observe sediment layers also.

Signs of past climatic activity are all around us. How do you think we can predict when the next supervolcano will occur?
Insanity
I'm not sure we have the ability to predict when volcanoes erupt...
kelseymh
 Ankhanu wrote: You likely won't find any books, though there are a couple scientific journals dedicated to the subject. Modeling isn't something I'm very familiar with, so I don't know which journals to look into. I suggest asking your profs.

There are plenty of books, mostly graduate level, along with both dedicated peer-reviewed journals and review articles. Start here:

kelseymh
 brandon02852 wrote: There are many ways to determine climate patterns: One can observe tree rings to tell when there was drought. One can observe ice cores to tell certain climatic events. One can observe sediment layers also. Signs of past climatic activity are all around us. How do you think we can predict when the next supervolcano will occur?

We can't, and don't.
ocalhoun
 kelseymh wrote: We can't, and don't.

Sure we can... just not very accurately.
(Sometime between tomorrow and the year 22000, if I remember correctly.)
Yellowstone has been bulging rather ominously lately.
Bikerman
Nah...we can't even get that level of precision - or anywhere even close.

There is no methodology for that sort of prediction and geologists know it...Kelseymh is correct.
 Quote: Recurrence intervals of these events are neither regular nor predictable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Caldera

One could guestimate that it will blow sometime in the next couple of thousand years - but that would be based on little more than hunch. We can't even assign probabilities at the current state of knowledge.
albiemer
 Afaceinthematrix wrote: Right now I am taking a course called Chaos and Dynamical Systems. Along with Partial Differential Equations and Fractal Geometry, this has been one of the most interesting courses I've taken. I also enjoyed Real Analysis and Complex analysis because of their importance (essentially ever single proof you do in PDEs, Chaos and Dynamical Systems, and Fractal Geometry has been a proof that has used a ton of analysis). It also just so happens that my three favorite classes are all heavily intertwined - especially chaos and dynamical systems and PDEs. There are quite a few ordinary and partial differential equations in dynamical systems. But one thing that has really been making me wonder are climate models. There are plenty of climate models for climate change but I was wondering, how are they really made? I've studied some weather - especially the work on Lorenz - and found out that weather is a chaotic dynamical system that makes it impossible to predict long term. So now I've been wondering about climate. To me, it seems like it must also be a chaotic system. There are so many variables that work in different ways and some variables must be more powerful than others but then some variables probably affect other variables and I'm sure a bunch of other strange stuff happens. For instance, we have a warming trend. It seems like that may cause more evaporation over the oceans which would create more clouds which cause global dimming which reduces temperature however clouds (I've heard) also trap heat in. Does anyone know where I can find (online or a book I can purchase) a resource that will really help me understand climate models because I know they can't be just based off of carbon levels and it seems like it must be a chaotic system...

Sorry "
albiemer
albiemer wrote:
 Afaceinthematrix wrote: Right now I am taking a course called Chaos and Dynamical Systems. Along with Partial Differential Equations and Fractal Geometry, this has been one of the most interesting courses I've taken. I also enjoyed Real Analysis and Complex analysis because of their importance (essentially ever single proof you do in PDEs, Chaos and Dynamical Systems, and Fractal Geometry has been a proof that has used a ton of analysis). It also just so happens that my three favorite classes are all heavily intertwined - especially chaos and dynamical systems and PDEs. There are quite a few ordinary and partial differential equations in dynamical systems. But one thing that has really been making me wonder are climate models. There are plenty of climate models for climate change but I was wondering, how are they really made? I've studied some weather - especially the work on Lorenz - and found out that weather is a chaotic dynamical system that makes it impossible to predict long term. So now I've been wondering about climate. To me, it seems like it must also be a chaotic system. There are so many variables that work in different ways and some variables must be more powerful than others but then some variables probably affect other variables and I'm sure a bunch of other strange stuff happens. For instance, we have a warming trend. It seems like that may cause more evaporation over the oceans which would create more clouds which cause global dimming which reduces temperature however clouds (I've heard) also trap heat in. minimum Daa" Does anyone know where I can find (online or a book I can purchase) a resource that will really help me understand climate models because I know they can't be just based off of carbon levels and it seems like it must be a chaotic system...

Sorry "