The Community Earth System Model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., will be one of the primary climate models used for the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a National Science Foundation release said Wednesday.
The CESM is the latest in a series of global models developed during the past 30 years, jointly supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. It was developed by scientists and engineers at NCAR, Department of Energy laboratories, and several universities, the release said.
"The Community Earth System Model is yet another step toward representing improved physics and biogeochemistry in a coupled model," Anjuli Bamzai, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, said. "As our understanding of climate-relevant processes improves, it is imperative to represent these processes in the model."
The new model's advanced capabilities will help scientists shed new light on some of the critical mysteries of global warming, researchers say.
The CESM, freely available to researchers worldwide, can be used to simulate the many components of Earth's climate system, including the oceans, atmosphere, sea ice and land cover.
Climate scientists rely on computer models to understand Earth's climate system because they cannot conduct large-scale experiments on the atmosphere itself.