science by simulation

  ClimateSim™ is a fast and simple climate modeling and simulation tool. It is a web app that is freely available to anyone interested in climate science. ClimateSim allows users to model scenarios of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the current century and simulates the first-order response of the earth system.

ClimateSim is targeted to undergraduate and advanced high-school students in physics, geoscience, and environmental science courses. We developed ClimateSim to be a science education tool primarily that can be used as a virtual lab. It makes climate simulation accessible in a simplified form to all students and provides an easy-to-use simulation platform for performing virtual climate experiments. Instructors can use ClimateSim to illustrate climate-change concepts, demonstrate dynamic relationships between climate variables, and assign simulation-based exercises as part of their courses. It comes with a detailed user guide and ready-to-use virtual lab exercises

ClimateSim is also an appropriate and accessible tool that policymakers, journalists and others can use to get a better understanding and working knowledge of the basics of climate science.

ClimateSim is listed in the National Science Digital Library , MERLOTEdSurge and LearnPlatform databases as an online science education tool, and is also available through the LibreTexts open-access textbook project.


  • ClimateSim provides a flexible interface for users to specify GHG emissions scenarios. Users can choose from seven pre-defined scenarios - including four IPCC scenarios - or create their own custom scenarios for the 2011-2100 period.

  • ClimateSim is based on an emissions-driven, coupled climate-GHG cycle model. It converts the user-specified emissions scenario into atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases over time, and then computes the earth system’s response – including the global mean surface temperature change/anomaly over time as well as latitudinal mean surface temperatures.

  • ClimateSim models details such as the land/ocean carbon uptake including climate-carbon feedback, lifetimes of non-CO2 GHGs, ice-albedo feedback, and equator-to-pole heat transport. The current 1.0 version uses an extended one-layer atmospheric model (to be expanded to a multilayer model in 2.0).

  • ClimateSim summarizes the simulation results in five easy-to-read charts. More detailed simulation results are provided in tabular form, providing users a closer look "under the hood". In addition to the temperature response, ClimateSim reports a number of other critical climate variables - such as radiative forcing, radiant flux densities, atmospheric longwave emissivity, and albedos -  to help users connect the simulation output to theory and models.

Accessing and using the tool:

  • ClimateSim is web-based and hosted on the cloud. There is nothing to install on the user's computer and any web browser will do for accessing the tool. The tool can be accessed at .
  • ClimateSim-based virtual lab exercises and assignments are easy to create. Two ready-to-use virtual lab exercises are currently available at, covering the global and latitudinal responses to GHG perturbations. Instructors can request additional exercises by emailing,  or they can create their own using the ClimateSim platform.



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