Skip to content

Learn more about it.


Additional information about selected materials contained
in the NOAA GFDL educational video titled

Climate Modeling 101: Grid Resolution –
how detailed is the climate model picture?


[GFDL Climate Modeling 101: Grid Resolution title screen image]

Click on the image above access the .mov video.
(60 MB, 9:24 length, 720×480 video dimensions, closed captions)
[ Transcript ]


[World's first climate model screen shot]

The World’s First Climate Model [2:12 of video]

NOAA GFDL research scientists Sykuro Manabe and Kirk Bryan are credited with inventing the world’s first dynamical computer climate model to incorporate interacting atmosphere and ocean general circulation models. They published their results in 1969. For more information, see…

[Climate Assessment Report covers screen chot]


GFDL Climate Models in High-Profile Assessment Reports: [3:25 of video]

GFDL’s CM2.0 and CM2.1 global climate models were developed in 2004 and figured prominently in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; reports – especially the Working Group 1 documents ( Results from these two GFDL models (they share the same grids) have also appeared in some of the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP; reports.

[Ben Franklin's chart of the Gulf Stream screen shot]

Ben Franklin’s Chart of the Gulf Stream [6:00 of video]

According to the information found on the NOAA Ocean Explorer web pages, Ben Franklin had this map engraved and copies distributed for the “benefit of navigators”. Franklin’s directions advised ships sailing westward toward the US coast to avoid the Gulf Stream, since its eastward flow would slow them “at the rate of 60 or 70 miles per day”. Franklin also noted that the eastward Boston to England voyage could be shortened by taking advantage of sailing within the eastward flowing Gulf Steam.

[Gulf Stream SST simulated by GFDL CM2.4 model]

Animation of model-simulated daily sea surface temperatures [6:28 of video]

The video progresses at a rate of 15 days per second, so a year passes in about 24.3 seconds. The global climate model covers the entire globe, but for this animation we zoomed in on the portion of the Atlantic Ocean seen here. The ocean grid spacing in this model is roughly 15 miles, though the grid spacing is not uniform across the whole region. Temperature units = degrees Celsius, according to color bar below:

[SST color bar]

Versions of these images are available as Wallpaper For Your Computer Monitor

The NOAA GFDL model experiment name is “CM2.4SQ_A_Control-1990_D1_Global_s1”.

[Resurrection Bay, Alaska photo by Keith W. Dixon]

Photo: Resurrection Bay, Alaska [0:40 of video]

Date: June 2004.
Photo credit: Keith W. Dixon.

Since we get asked…

This photo was taken from a hiking trail (the “Fort Trail”) in Alaska’s Caines Head State Recreation Area, between North Beach and Fort McGilvray. It is about 7 miles from Seward, Alaska. Peering eastward between the conifers, one can see a thin layer of lifted fog stratus clouds above the waters of the bay. The ice, snow, and rock of the Porcupine Glacier area of Resurrection Peninsula rise above the low stratus.

  • Caines Head State Recreation Area page: Link