Climate Modeling: An Introductory Primer for Practitioners




Suzanna Clark, Heidi Roop, Nathan Meyer, Stefan Liess, Jamie Mosel, Brenda Hoppe, Amanda Farris


This document is intended to provide an introductory overview to climate models and their function. It explains the basics of how a climate model works, how data can be transformed from a global to a regional scale, and the constraints placed on modeling as a result of computational power. It also explains the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) and modeling scenarios established by CMIP. It is not an exhaustive overview, nor is it intended to replace a formal modeling course for those wishing to run climate models. The intended audience includes those who would like to understand or are interested in using model output. 

This product is part of the Agricultural Weather Study funded by the Minnesota State Department of Commerce.

Suggested Citation

Clark, S., Roop, H.A., Meyer, N., Liess, S., Mosel, J., Hoppe, B., and Farris, A. (2023). Climate
modeling: an introductory primer for practitioners. Report prepared by the University of Minnesota Climate
Adaptation Partnership, Saint Paul, Minnesota. (version 1; May 2023).