A Caltech Library Service

A perspective on climate model hierarchies

Jeevanjee, Nadir and Hassanzadeh, Pedram and Hill, Spencer and Sheshadri, Aditi (2017) A perspective on climate model hierarchies. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 9 (4). pp. 1760-1771. ISSN 1942-2466.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


To understand Earth's climate, climate modelers employ a hierarchy of climate models spanning a wide spectrum of complexity and comprehensiveness. This essay, inspired by the World Climate Research Programme's recent “Model Hierarchies Workshop,” attempts to survey and synthesize some of the current thinking on climate model hierarchies, especially as presented at the workshop. We give a few formal descriptions of the hierarchy and survey the various ways it is used to generate, test, and confirm hypotheses. We also discuss some of the pitfalls of contemporary climate modeling, and how the “elegance” advocated for by Held (2005) has (and has not) been used to address them. We conclude with a survey of current activity in hierarchical modeling, and offer suggestions for its continued fruitful development.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Jeevanjee, Nadir0000-0002-6657-896X
Hassanzadeh, Pedram0000-0001-9425-8085
Hill, Spencer0000-0001-8672-0671
Sheshadri, Aditi0000-0002-9828-9484
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Received 5 MAY 2017; Accepted 19 JUN 2017; Accepted article online 19 JUL 2017; Published online 22 AUG 2017. The authors wish to thank I. Held for inspiration, V. Balaji for initiative and encouragement, S. Bony for proposing the Model Hierarchies Workshop, the Working Group on Climate Modeling of the World Climate Research Programme for sponsoring it, and the organizers and sessions chairs for their efforts in bringing it to fruition. Thanks are also due to Robert Pincus at JAMES for encouraging us to turn a workshop report into a commentary, and to Chris Bretherton and Bjorn Stevens for generous and insightful reviews. Ming Zhao provided the plot for Figure 2, and Nathaniel Tarshish and Allison Wing provided valuable feedback during the revision process. A.S. is supported by a Junior Fellow award from the Simons Foundation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Climate; Climate models; Hierarchies; Modeling
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170719-092532082
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Jeevanjee, N., P. Hassanzadeh, S. Hill, and A. Sheshadri (2017), A perspective on climate model hierarchies, J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 9, 1760–1771, doi:10.1002/2017MS001038
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79198
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Jul 2017 16:35
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:17

Repository Staff Only: item control page