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What is a Global Circulation Model (GCM)?

Scientists at CMMAP use several kinds of models. A model is usually a small version of something larger. For example, a model train, or a business model that represents the inner workings of a company. In the same way, climate models represent certain properties (temperature, pressure, and moisture content, etc) of the Earth's atmosphere using equations. Most climate models are based on a general circulation model (GCM).

climateSystem What is a GCM?

GCM stands for general circulation model because it simulates the circulation of the atmosphere. GCM also can stand for global climate model. A GCM attempts to represent the climate system by calculating the properties of the Earth's atmosphere (although you could create a GCM for another planet). Examples of what makes up the climate system are shown in the picture to the right.

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