Climate is complex.  To aid in understanding many complex interactions scientists often build mathematical models that represent simple climate systems.  We gain an understanding of the importance of a certain parameter (for example, cloud cover) by changing that variable in the simple climate model and observing the changes in the model predictions (for example, changes in surface temperature).  This is referred to as a sensitivity study. Sensitivity studies help us understand how the planet's temperature is maintained and how human activity can impact climate.

After a brief discussion of a climate system you will have an opportunity to conduct your own sensitivity studies.


Simple Climate Models | Systems | Emission Temperature | Exercise I | Exercise II | Directory of Related Links

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Steve Ackerman

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University of Wisconsin-Madison
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