GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 67-14
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


CHANDLER, Mark A., SOHL, Linda E. and ZHOU, Jian, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, NASA/GISS, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025,

Climate systems science, which incorporates atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, and the land surface, provides integrated approaches to teaching both content and process in scientific research. Geoscience students benefit from this emphasis on the systems approach, but have had less opportunity to combine it with the computational modeling approaches that are ubiquitous to most modern climate research. In the Educational Global Climate Modeling Project (EdGCM) we stress the role of authentic computer modeling activities by providing a more user-friendly experience that employs research level climate models but does not require research-scale computer resources or scientific programming skills in order to conduct end-to-end climate science experiments. The EdGCM software is built around a genuine NASA global climate model. It is designed so that middle school or high school students can run and analyze pre-defined numerical climate simulations, but is scalable so that undergraduate-level courses can incorporate aspects of experimental design and analysis that would make the research perfect for semester projects that are near to publication quality.

Within the realm of paleoclimate research, EdGCM is capable of simulating climates as far ranging as the Proterozoic Snowball Earth icehouse states to the hothouse environments of the mid-Cretaceous. In addition, climate drivers such as greenhouse gases, solar luminosity, and orbital configurations can be used to explore geologic-scale climate effects, without necessarily focusing on specific events in Earth history. Finally, since the EdGCM climate modeling tools can also be used in the study of future climate change, all results are easy to relate to key current-event issues in society, and are highly relevant to the next generation of the global workforce. This presentation is designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the EdGCM software, as well as to show examples of projects conducted by students at levels ranging from high school to undergraduate.