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EdGCM Educational Global Climate Modeling

Unfortunately, I was not able to load this software when I first tried.  My internet connection was not up to the task.  However, I wanted to let my readers know about this tool that promises to be very educational. 

One of the big challenges of climate science is the model that is used to predict the future.  Essentially, scientists must take a small amount of historical data and then predict what is going to happen in the future to accomplish a scenario that has never happened in the past.  This is extremely difficult and is subject to extreme interpretation.

I doubt that this model is up to the task of modeling the global climate change for the next 100 years.  There are far too many variables to do that on your simple home computer.  In my opinion, this challenge should be funded for our largest and most powerful computers to work on.

The advantage for you the user to play with this educational version though is so that you can understand some of the many variables that are required to come to any reasonable or unreasonable conclusion.

The EdGCM Project develops and distributes a research-quality global climate model (GCM) with a user-friendly interface that runs on desktop computers. Anyone can explore the subject of climate change using the same methods and tools that scientists employ. The design of the software allows students to learn and experience the full scientific process including: designing experiments, setting up and running computer simulations, post-processing output, using scientific visualization to display results, and creating scientific reports ready for publishing to the web.

EdGCM, or the Educational Global Climate Model, is a suite of software applications that allows educators and students to run a fully functional 3D global climate model (GCM) on desktop computers in the classroom. Through the use of EdGCM, students learn to formulate climate experiments, run computer simulations, post-process raw data, analyze output using scientific visualization tools, and report on their results in the manner of a working scientist.

The GCM at the core of EdGCM is developed at NASA, and is used by researchers to study climates of the past, present and future. The EdGCM suite provides features that streamline and simplify the students’ interactions with the GCM (the GCM itself is left unchanged), and includes:

  • A user-friendly interface for easy management of simulations
  • A searchable database of the experiments run, with details on the parameters (forcings) used for each experiment
  • Mapping, plotting, and data analysis software for visualizing simulation output, and comparing the results of multiple simulations
  • A special feature for the creation of reports and/or instructional materials (text, charts and images) that can be shared or exported to the web

Climate experiments run by students can be as simple or as complex as an educator wants to make them. Simple experiments might examine the impact of a single forcing (e.g., how does the Sun warm the planet?). More advanced experiments can be designed to explore the feedbacks caused by changing multiple climate forcings simultaneously (e.g., how do alterations in anthropogenic greenhouse gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons and carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning, effect climate). Because EdGCM uses a fully functional climate model, students can even conduct their own in-depth investigations using current data to produce, in near real-time, the same kinds of climate model projections created by climate scientists and reported in the news.

The EdGCM suite comes with number of sample simulations, but educators have great flexibility in constructing their own scenarios to satisfy specific curricular requirements. EdGCM thus scales for use at levels from middle school to graduate school, making it a unique tool for linking research to the classroom.

Individual Components of EdGCM Software:

  • Toolbar
  • Simulation Library
  • Setup Simulations
  • Analyze Output
  • Scientific Visualization
  • Report Results
  • Cleanup

You can learn more about this software and how to download it here.

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