Global Warming:

Limitations of General Circulation Models

T-RCED-96-43: Published: Nov 16, 1995. Publicly Released: Nov 16, 1995.

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GAO discussed the use of climate change models in predicting future climate changes. GAO noted that: (1) although general circulation models have improved over the last decade, their ability to predict climate changes accurately is limited by scientists' understanding of climatic processes and interactions and insufficient computer power to process the vast quantity of data needed to simulate changes in global climate; (2) scientists are improving the accuracy of general circulation models by incorporating climate processes that better reflect the interactions between the ocean and atmosphere; and (3) scientists believe that it will take sustained efforts to reduce the uncertainties in projecting climate changes and trends.

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