General Circulation Model Development

Past, Present, and Future


  • David Randall, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA

General Circulation Models (GCMs) are rapidly assuming widespread use as powerful tools for predicting global events on time scales of months to decades, such as the onset of EL Nino, monsoons, soil moisture saturation indices, global warming estimates, and even snowfall predictions. While GCMs have been praised for helping to foretell the current El Nino and its impact on droughts in Indonesia, its full power is only now being recognized by international scientists and governments who seek to link GCMs to help them estimate fish harvests, risk of floods, landslides, and even forest fires.Scientists in oceanography, hydrology, meteorology, and climatology and civil, ocean, and geological engineers perceive a need for a reference on GCM design. In this compilation of information by an internationally recognized group of experts, Professor Randall brings together the knowledge base of the forerunners in theoretical and applied frontiers of GCM development. General Circulation Model Development focuses on the past, present, and future design of numerical methods for general circulation modeling, as well as the physical parameterizations required for their proper implementation. Additional chapters on climate simulation and other applications provide illustrative examples of state-of-the-art GCM design.
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Researchers, professors, and graduate level students in oceanography, climatology, meteorology, hydrology, and those interested in how to code and paramaterize the physics of the ocean, atmosphere, and land surfaces into a predictive model.


Book information

  • Published: July 2000
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-578010-0


"The book constitutes a most important reference for general circulation modeling, and should be useful for students, teachers and researchers. The editor, David A. Randall, has done an extraordinary job in maintaining the high quality and uniform standards of the contributions ... the appearance of this book is a major contribution to the field, and the editor should be congratulated for his excellent job."
--Eugenia Kalnay, Bulletin of the AMS, (May 2001)

"Although it is primarily a celebration of the breadth and influence of Arakawa's work, particularly on numerical methods for general circulation models (GCMs) and the parametrization of cumulus convection, the book contains a great deal of valuable matieral that is well presented and well worth reading. excellent book, with presentations that provide a historical as well as scientific perspective. All concerned should be congratulated, notably David Randall for the considerable task of editing material that covers 23 chapters and just over 800 pages. This is a fitting tribute to one of the great innovators and thinkers of our science."

Table of Contents

ForewordPrefacePast:A Personal Perspective on the Early Years of General Circulation Modeling at UCLAA Brief History of Atmospheric General Circulation ModelingClarifying the Dynamics of the General Circulation: Phillips's 1956 ExperimentClimate Modeling in the Global Warming DebateA Retrospective Analysis of the Charney et al., 1969 Numerical Experiments with the Mintz-Arakawa General Circulation ModelA Retrospective View of Arakawa's Ideas on Cumulus ParameterizationOn the Origin of Cumulus Parameterization for Numerical Prediction Models Present:Quasi-Equilibrium ThinkingApplication of Relaxed Arakawa-Schubert Cumulus Parameterization to the NCEP Climate Model--Some Sensitivity ExperimentsSolving Problems with GCMsResearch and Development for Medium and Extended-range Forecasts: Methods, Results and ProspectsClimate Services at the JMA with the Use of General Circulation Model: Dynamical One-Month PredictionNumerical Methods: The Arakawa approach, horizontal grid, global and limited-area modelingThe Formulation of Oceanic General Circulation ModelsFuture:Climate and Variability in a Quasi-Equilibrium Tropical Circulation ModelClimate Simulation Studies at CCSRGCMs using Geodesic GridsA Coupled GCM pilgrimage: From climate catastrophe to ENSO simulationsMarine Stratocumulus and its Representation in GCMsCloud Resolving ModelsImproving Cloud-Radiation ParameterizationsEntropy, the Lorenz Energy Cycle and ClimateFuture Development of General Circulation Models