2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:25 PM

Climate System Models and Their Role in Climate Change Research

AMMANN, Caspar M., Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80305, ammann@ucar.edu

The science around climate change has made tremendous progress over the past decades. In fact, the process to gain understanding of our planet is evolving into an intricate network of geophysical and biogeochemical components that we now call Earth System Science. At the heart of this interdisciplinary framework are spatio-temporal constraints that are governed by the fundamental laws of physics. On the planetary scale, despite the brevity of the instrumental record, we have achieved a level of understanding that now encompasses the breadth of observations that represent key processes of the system. This understanding is so advanced that some inconsistencies in observational data products can be diagnosed and isolated.

Thus, climate system models are now used to assess possible paths of future climate while at the same time they are exposed to boundary conditions that represent the Earth's varied past. The further from the full range of observational data these periods are, the more there is a need for model-independent information so that the predictions or hind-casts can be corroborated, if not validated. Such interdisciplinary interactions between climate modeling and geological sciences are developing into a balanced partnership where each approach has its own strength and weaknesses. This presentation shows examples of how expanding this collaboration is necessary if we want to answer some of the most relevant questions of our future.