Global Climate Model - History: General Circulation Models

History: General Circulation Models

See also: Numerical weather prediction

In 1956, Norman Phillips developed a mathematical model which could realistically depict monthly and seasonal patterns in the troposphere, which became the first successful climate model. Following Phillips's work, several groups began working to create general circulation models. The first general circulation climate model that combined both oceanic and atmospheric processes was developed in the late 1960s at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. By the early 1980s, the United States' National Center for Atmospheric Research had developed the Community Atmosphere Model; this model has been continuously refined into the 2000s. In 1996, efforts began to initialize and model soil and vegetation types, which led to more realistic forecasts. Coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models such as the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research's HadCM3 model are currently being used as inputs for climate change studies. The importance of gravity waves was neglected within these models until the mid 1980s. Now, gravity waves are required within global climate models in order to properly simulate regional and global scale circulations, though their broad spectrum makes their incorporation complicated.

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