North American Climate Model More Precise With Improvements

By on March 11, 2016

Sample maps show different North American climate model scenarios. (Credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

According to a release from Argonne National Laboratory, scientists have succeeded in significantly improving the resolution of a North American climate model, meaning higher accuracy for future climate forecasts.

Instead of dividing North America into square patches of 30 to 60 miles on a side, as was typical for previous models, the latest climate model divides the continent into squares only 7 miles on a side, a big improvement in resolution. The researchers have used the improved model in an effort to better predict weather in North America 100 years from now.

The new model, though computationally intensive, was worth the effort, as it seems to correct bias in previous models, such as predicting that weather for the Northern Great Plains would be wetter than it actually was. The higher-resolution model predicts moisture levels to be lower, a result in the right direction.

The researchers have noted that the improved model does a better job of predicting precipitation in rugged terrain, like the Rocky Mountains. The researchers next plan on developing an even more precise model, with North America divided into squares only 2.5 miles on each side.

Top image: Sample maps show different North American climate model scenarios. (Credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

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