• Question: How difficult are the procedures to predict climate?

    Asked by SamK to Hazel on 8 Feb 2021.
    • Photo: Hazel Jeffery

      Hazel Jeffery answered on 8 Feb 2021:

      That’s a good question!
      Here’s some text we wrote, I hope it makes sense:

      The Earth system is made up of numerous processes that interact with each other – a bit like a jigsaw. For example, carbon moves around the Earth system and depends on lots of interacting processes such as; chemical interactions in the atmosphere, uptake of carbon by plants, which themselves depend on rainfall and temperature; and uptake of carbon by the ocean, which depends on ocean temperatures, biological activity and the ocean acidity. Changes to any part of this complex web of interactions can have severe consequences elsewhere in the system.

      Scientists already know a lot about how some of these processes work and interact, however, for others they know a lot less and need to get a better understanding. These processes and their interactions can be explained in terms of physics, biology and chemistry. This science can be represented by a large series of interacting mathematical equations that are solved on a supercomputer to make predictions about how the Earth system will change in the future.

      We’ve got a short introduction in a video on our web site http://www.ukesm.ac.uk or you can get it here https://youtu.be/hclsFbnmUdI