Geo- and Climate Science

When global climate models are able to differentiate between an elephant and a big mouse

Cathy Hohenegger(1), Bjorn Stevens(1), Luis Kornblueh(2), Matthias Brueck(1), Niklas Röber(3)


(1) The Atmosphere in the Earth System (2) Scientific Computing Laboratory (SCLab), (3) German Climate Computing Center (Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum, DKRZ)


Eighty-three million points are needed to represent the atmospheric state every 2.5 km on Earth. Only such a grid spacing allows climate modelers to represent in their models the diversity of clouds, their small-scale details and their unique shapes which, at times, may remember elephants and, at other times, big mice. But are so many details that cannot be captured by current state-of-the-art climate models really necessary? In the following the authors present the results of an intercomparison exercise where, for the first time, eight of these next-generation climate models were run.