Climate models put to the test on the forecast - Tucson News Now

Climate models put to the test on the forecast

Source: Daniel Stolte/UANews Source: Daniel Stolte/UANews

Computer models used to forecast weather can be proven accurate (or not) within a week or even days of the forecast.  But proving climate models, which forecast for a longer term, accuracy in the forecast can be a little harder to verify.  Climate models forecast for years or even decades to come.  A professor at the University of Arizona is now conquering this challenge. 

Xuben Zang is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.  His speciality is developing and evaluating climate models.  UA News interviewed Zang and his team of researchers about a study addressing the ongoing question: "How good are Earth system models at predicting the surface air temperature trend at different geographical and time scales?"

Zang told UA News "Climate scientists are correct because we do show that on the continental scale, and for time scales of three decades or more, climate models indeed show predictive skills. But when it comes to predicting the climate for a certain area over the next 10 or 20 years, our models can't do it." 

While there are areas for improvement, Zang's research shows climate models can assist the public, officials, and policy makers prepare for future shifts in climate. 

For the full UA News article click here.

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