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New version of premier global climate model released

Arlington, Va.--The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., is unveiling a powerful new version of a supercomputer-based system to model Earth's climate and to project global temperature rise in coming decades. Scientists will contribute results to the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international research body that advises policymakers on the likely impacts of climate change. The system, known as the Community Climate System Model, version 3 (CCSM3), indicates in a preliminary finding that global temperatures may rise more than the previous version had projected if societies continue to emit large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

NCAR developed the model in collaboration with researchers at universities and laboratories across the country, with funding from NSF as well as the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It is releasing the model results and the underlying computer codes to atmospheric researchers and other users worldwide.

"The release of CCSM3 marks a significant milestone in development of climate models," said Jay Fein, director of NSF's climate dynamics program. "The investment by the NSF, the Department of Energy and the scientific community is yielding new insight into the complexities of the Earth system and the likely responses of our planet to natural and anthropogenic influences."

CCSM3 shows global temperatures could rise by 2.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in a hypothetical scenario in which atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are suddenly doubled. That is significantly more than the 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) increase that had been indicated by the preceding version of the model.

William Collins, an NCAR scientist who oversaw the development of CCSM3, says
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