Climate modeling is more powerful than ever before

Categories: Big picture
Published on: February 12, 2018

MIT Technology Review / James Temple / 08 February 2018

Just a few years ago, the conventional wisdom held that you couldn’t attribute any single extreme weather event to climate change. But now scientists increasingly can and do state the odds that human actions caused or exacerbated specific droughts and hurricanes.

One big reason for the change is that the science of climate modeling is becoming increasingly powerful as improvements in technology, techniques, and data sharing allow researchers to set up novel experiments or simply run many more of them.

Climate models are sophisticated computer simulations that approximate how the planet responds to various forces, like surges in carbon dioxide. They break down the oceans, surface, and atmosphere into 3-D boxes and calculate how shifting conditions track across time and space.