A new international project called weatherathome.net, allows anyone with a computer and internet access to take part and helps understand how climate change may be producing damaging – or beneficial – weather events around the world.The aim of climateprediction.net is to investigate the approximations that have to be made in state-of-the-art climate models. By running the model thousands of times (a 'large ensemble') they hope to find out how the model responds to slight tweaks to these approximations – slight enough to not make the approximations any less realistic.
This will allow them to improve our understanding of how sensitive their models are to small changes and also to things like changes in carbon dioxide and the sulphur cycle. This will allow them to explore how climate may change in the next century under a wide range of different scenarios.
In the past estimates of climate change have had to be made using one or, at best, a very small ensemble (tens rather than thousands!) of model runs. By using your computers, they will be able to improve their understanding of, and confidence in, climate change predictions more than would ever be possible using the supercomputers currently available to scientists.
In this new “weatherathome” experiment, climateprediction.net has partnered with the Met. Office, with support from Microsoft Research, to develop a regional climate model that is available for download and running on personal computers anywhere.