Use and Evaluation of General Circulation Models in
General circulation models (GCM) are used to evaluate past, present, and future climatic phenomena. Climate consists of a region's prevailing weather. Variations in climate are primarily determined by the combined influences of the atmosphere, the continents, and the oceans. Such effects can both foster and hinder human activities. Consequently, considerable effort has been devoted to climate modeling.
In recent years, GCMs have been the primary tool used for climate simulation. These numerical representations describe climatic change in three-dimensions. The models involve numerous data inputs. In addition, they also require various approximations and prognostic equations. This information is typically analyzed by computer.
General circulation models have found various practical applications. Nonetheless, individual GCMs are only as accurate as the assumptions used to create them. Few current models are able to realistically simulate observed climates. Moreover, GCMs' coarse resolution precludes their use in small-scale weather prediction. Despite such limitations though, GCMs have proven useful in environmental science. In particular, the models have provided some valuable insights into possible negative consequences of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations. By raising public concern over such pollution, GCMs may be able to minimize its eventual impact.
This paper describes the development and application of general circulation models. Upon evaluating climatic patterns and their operating mechanisms, the importance of modeling is delineated. The paper then provides an extensive description of general circulation models, their uses, and their importance to environmental science.
General Climatic Patterns and Operating Mechanisms
Climate may be defined as a given region's prevailing weather conditions. Climatic variability can have both p...