STRAND 2: Environment > Modelling and simulations

Climate models are systems of differential equations based on the basic laws of physics, fluid motion, and chemistry. To “run” a model, scientists divide the planet into a 3-dimensional grid, apply the basic equations, and evaluate the results. Atmospheric models calculate winds, heat transfer, radiation, relative humidity, and surface hydrology within each grid and evaluate interactions with neighboring points. From: NOAA

'Only the Best' Links

Links to Other Strands
Model City
A US company has announced plans to build a massive, realistic, but totally uninhabited city to use for high tech tests. Good description of what goes into building a model.

Smog City 2
Smog City is an interactive air pollution simulator that shows how your choices, environmental factors, and land use contribute to air pollution.
Strand 3: modelling and simulations
How Climate Models Work
Explanation of how climate models work with great visuals. You can go deeper into the subject or just use this first page.
Strand 3: modelling and simulations
Net Logo
Net Logo is a multi-agent programmable modeling environment. It is used by tens of thousands of students, teachers, and researchers worldwide. It also powers HubNet participatory simulations. It's free, runs on Macs and PCs, and has lots of simulations for you to choose from. A great teaching tool.
Strand 3: modeling
and simulations
In Pictures-Climate Models
In 6 very clear illustrations shows the growing complexity of climate models. Good, quick introduction.
Strand 3: modeling
and simulations
The Habitable Planet
Award winning site with interactive materials that can be used to teach models and simulations.
The Habitable Planet is a multimedia course consisting of 13 units. Each unit is composed of a thirty-minute video and an online text chapter. The web site acts as a home base to begin study, a place to organize the course materials. It provides access to all the course components plus additional resources, which include:
  • 5 Interactive Lab Activities
  • Visuals: A compilation of animations and images used in the videos and textbook chapters
  • Scientist biographies, and edited transcripts from each of the video case study interviews
  • Professional Development Course Guide
  • A navigable glossary

Modeling Earth's Climate
Full unit with interactive activities. Focuses on climate models and how they work. Includes videos, models the students can experiment with. Highly recommend.

'Only the Best' Videos and Podcasts

Alaskan Way Viaduct - Earthquake Simulation

This visualization shows the collapse of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, part of Washingtons State Route 99, and adjacent seawall due to a seismic event. The simulated earthquake is similar to the 2001 Nisqually earthquake but lasts longer, is closer to Seattle, or has a slightly greater magnitude.

F1 Car - Engine and Radiator Flow
Technology Power F1 Williams Team
Video of airflow over a Formula 1 car

This article explains the use of simulations in F1 cars. Good explanation of how the technology enables visualization of airflow over the car. Use the two together.

NASA: Supercomputing the Climate
Outstanding visuals and good explanation of weather models and climate models, distinguishes the two. About 6 minutes.
Thank you to Omar Alvarez Badillo.

Latest Online Resources

Page Manager: Sandra Stark