Climate Model: An educational software to simulate climate
This educational software is originally deviced for use in high schools as part of the french curriculum in Life and Earth Sciences. It realises climate simulations given user-chosen
parameters. Through a friendly interface, the user chooses the length of the simulation (from 100 years to a few billions years) and the initial conditions, and tests the influence of various parameters involved in climate: astronomic forcing, atmospheric composition, carbone cycle, climatic feedbacks (ice albedo, vegetation, ocean, water vapor). Simulation results (such as temperature, sea level and ice cover), calculated on the flys by a physical climate model, appear on the interface, through curves and images.
Here is a snapshot of the graphical interface:
This educational software can be used to introduce processes controlling climate. It can be used to discuss past climate variations and the different natural factors that influence climate (astronomic forcing, natural perturbations in the carbon cycle). The effect of climatic feedbacks can be shown by plugging or unplugging feedbacks. This software can also be used to discuss global warming, and test different carbon dioxyde emmissions scenarii. For example, it can be used:
- in high schools, to study climate processes and feedbacks. This software has already been tested in various high school classes in France. Here is a report (in french) on tests performed in high schools. This can give ideas about how to educationaly use this software.
- in science festivals. This software has been tested in science festivals such as the Fête de la Science in Paris. An older version of the model was more oriented on climate change and was also tested in science festivals with children and adults (see stand sur le réchauffement climatique). In this former version, the different human sources of carbon dioxyde are more detailed (you can for example test the influence of the distance you drive each year), but climatic processes and feedbacks are less detailed.
There are 2 possible ways to download the software:
- User's guide (in french)
- Physical model documentation: This software uses a simple climate model, based on a global radiative equilibrium. We try to combine model simplicity (results have to quicly appear), realism of the simulations (from a scientific point of view) and rigour of the physical equations. A physical model documentation (in french) explains the physical equations that are used in the model and how they are constrained.
- more information on this site (in french)
Who are we?
We are a team of two young PhD student and teachers in Paris:
- Camille Risi is a PhD student at the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique and teaches Earth Sciences and Physics at Paris 6 University.
- Nicolas Gama is PhD student at the Laboratoire d'Informatique at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and teaches Computer Sciences in Paris 7 University.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question, comment or suggestion about this software:
Educational use of this software is welcome. Don't hesitate to report about such experience.
- Camille Risi (model physics, educational use)
- Nicolas Gama (graphical interface, software installation)