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New Models Could Predict Climate Change Effects with Unprecedented Detail


Scientists have proposed a network of supercomputing centers that would focus on local climate impacts

An aerial landscape photograph depicting several dozen homes inundated by standing muddy brown floodwaters.

A residental area in Pakistan flooded after heavy monsoon rains in 2022.


Fida Hussain/AFP via Getty Images


Scientists have used computer models to predict global warming’s implications for more than five decades. As climate change intensifies, these increasingly precise models require more and more computing power. For a decade the best simulations have been able to predict climate change effects down to a 25-square-kilometer area. Now a new modeling project could tighten the resolution to one kilometer, helping policymakers and city planners spot the neighborhoods—or even individual buildings—most vulnerable to extreme weather events.

“Climate [science] has always had a computing problem,” says Bjorn Stevens, director of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Recent technological advances such as shrinking transistors, however, have made computers far more capable, Stevens says. He and a group of climatologists and…

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