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Handbook of Environmental Engineering by Myer Kutz

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4Climate Modeling

Huei‐Ping Huang

School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

4.1 Introduction

Predicting the Earth’s climate has become one of the key challenges in the emerging global trend of sustainable development. Giving the urgency of the problem, scientists and engineers have mobilized in multinational efforts to quantify, using physical theories and computers, the variation of climate from interannual to centennial time scales. An outstanding example of such efforts is the publication of the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report (IPCC, 2013) that summarizes state‐of‐the‐art projections of global climate through the end of the twenty‐first century. Contrasting the fifth IPCC report with its predecessors, one immediately recognizes the increasing societal demands for climate information and the matching responses by scientists and engineers. For example, until the third IPCC Report (IPCC, 2001), the projections were limited to a few meteorological variables – temperature, wind, and precipitation – and only on global and continental scales. The fifth IPCC Report expanded the projections to a much longer list of variables critical to economic development, resource management, and disaster mitigation. The projections were refined to regional scales. To meet societal demands, climate modeling has become increasingly interdisciplinary. This survey is written for the broader multidisciplinary readership ...

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