Climate models

Scientists can use historic and current data to create a computer simulation of how the world's climate may change in the future. This is called a climate model.

Scientists created two climate models using data on carbon dioxide level increases:

  • due to natural sources only
  • due to both human activity and natural sources

The second model better matched the observed temperature changes.

This adds to the evidence that the observed warming of the Earth is because of human activities changing the composition of the atmosphere.

Impacts of climate change

Scientists can also use computer models to predict the impacts of climate change.

What is affectedImpact
IceMelting of the Antarctic ice sheet and melting of glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere.
Sea levelsLikely to increase due to melted ice and expansion as temperatures increase.
Ocean temperatureAn increase in ocean temperature could change ocean currents and the climate of countries bordering these currents (like the UK).
Extreme weatherGreater differences in weather, for example, more intense droughts and floods and more extreme temperatures (both hot and cold).
Impact on cropsLow lying farmland may be flooded. In areas where there is less rainfall droughts may make it difficult to grow crops. If there is extreme rainfall then crops could get flooded and washed away.