Climate Modelling Part 1 (block course)


High-profile scientific reports such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) attest to the exceptional societal interest in understanding and projecting future climate. IPCC AR5 concluded that the warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that the human influence on the climate system is clear. Observed increases of greenhouse gases, warming of the atmosphere and ocean, sea ice decline, and sea level rise, in combination with climate model projections of a likely temperature increase between 2.1 and 4.7°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2concentration, make it an international priority to improve our understanding of the climate system. Coupled atmosphere-ocean General Circulation Models (GCMs) are common tools to understand and project climate change. This block course provides an overview of the main components of climate models and explains the underlying basics and the numerical formulation of the fundamental equations in GCMs, including subgrid-scale parameterizations. In addition, an introduction to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) is given and selected areas of current research activities and results from GCMs are presented. The course also includes an introduction to the ICOsahedral Nonhydrostatic Atmosphere (ICON-A) climate model as well as computational exercises with ICON-A and with python. The goal of this block course is that you get a broad overview of how a climate model works and how to set up a climate model simulation (without covering all details) and that you get some first experience with running a climate model and plotting its output.

Topics to be addressed:

Introduction to Climate Modelling, Types of Climate Models, Components of Atmosphere Ocean General Circulation Models (AO-GCMs), Fundamentals and representation in GCMs: Radiation, Dynamics of the Atmosphere, Ocean and sea ice component,: Land component; Parametrizations in climate models; Steps in climate model formulation; Frequently Asked Questions IPCC Assessment Reports; Introduction to the ICON climate model; Computational exercises with the ICON model: running a climate model; Computation exercises in Python: plotting ICON model output.


1. Brasseur & Jacob, Modeling of Atmospheric Chemistry, 2016
2. Gettelman & Rood, Demystifying Climate Models, 2016
3. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, 2013
4. Jacobson, Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modeling, 2005
5. McGuffie & Henderson-Sellers, A Climate Modelling Primer, 2013