The Community Climate System Model, or CCSM, is one of the world's leading general circulation climate models. It is based at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
What if we could predict spring rainfall in agricultural areas by looking at ocean temperatures? Or understand the effect of air pollution on Asian monsoons? Or use information about past climate to anticipate unusual temperatures in the future?
Scientists, of course, can’t make such sophisticated analyses—yet. But as our understanding of the world’s climate patterns improves and computers become ever more powerful, researchers are using new tools to track climate patterns that affect societies worldwide. One of the most sophisticated of these tools, housed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and developed by scientists at national laboratories and universities across the country, is the Community Climate System Model.
Using CCSM, scientists can anticipate the impact of such events as continued carbon dioxide emissions or volcanic eruptions on global temperatures. As the model becomes more refined, they will be able to determine the probability that certain regions in coming decades will face a warmer climate or more intense precipitation events. CCSM is also an important tool for paleoclimatologists who want to glean insights into ice ages and other major climate events in the past.
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