This module explains how climate models work. Because the modeling of both weather and climate share many similarities, the content throughout this module draws frequent comparisons and highlights the differences. We explain not only how, but why climate models differ from weather models. To do so, we explore the difference between weather and climate, then show how models are built to simulate climate and generate the statistics that describe it. We conclude with a discussion of models are tuned and tested.
Understanding how climate responds to changes in atmospheric composition and other factors drives climate research. Climate models provide a tool to understand how processes work and interact with each other.
Our intended audience is the weather forecasting community: those who are already familiar with NWP models. Non-forecasters with an interest in weather and climate should also find the module useful. The content is not overly technical and the goal of this module is not to train people to develop climate models but to highlight the similarities and differences between weather and climate models.
In order to better serve our users and sponsors, access to our online materials requires registration. To learn more about registering or to get help with common questions about our site, please visit our FAQs.
Most of the material made available on MetEd is free for non-commercial, educational use. We encourage you to use our material to enhance your education and training efforts. To review the legal-speak with all the nitty gritty details, see our Legal Notices page.