COS 518: Climate Modelling


Course Title

Climate Modelling

Course Code

COS 518

Course Type




Instructor’s Name

Asst. Prof. Theodoros Christoudias



Lectures / week

1 (90 min. each)

Laboratories / week

1 (90 min. each)

Course Purpose and Objectives

This course deals with the numerical methods, formulation and parameterizations used in models of the circulation of the atmosphere. Widely used numerical methods will be addressed, as well as novel approaches in connection with emerging novel computer architectures and programming models. Its purpose is to equip students that embark on PhD studies in areas related to atmospheric and climate modelling with the basic knowledge and awareness of advanced concepts and techniques in specific topics, which would allow them to progress in their studies. It aims at introducing students from diverse physical sciences and engineering backgrounds to modelling concepts, data and methods.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course students should be able to:

-  use atmospheric models commonly utilized in climate and air quality studies and interpret their outcomes and limitations;
-  evaluate model performance by comparison of model results with observations or other models;
-  be able to configure and run models to simulate relevant phenomena e.g. extreme weather or air quality;
-  determine and implement optimization approaches for modelling codes in connection with novel computer architectures.



Background Requirements

Knowledge of HPC programming

Course Content

Week 1: Governing Equations and Model Assumptions

Week 2: Programming Numerical Solutions to the Equations

Week 3: Physical-process Parameterisations

Week 4: Boundary Conditions and Data Assimilation

Week 5: Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling

Week 6: Model computational considerations and optimisation

Week 7: Experimental-computational design in Model-based Research

Practicals: Atmospheric/Climate Models in supercomputer environment, model output data processing and analysis, the netCDF library and file format, CF conventions, visualisation of model results.

Project: aims to tackle the challenge of implementing an atmospheric/climate model to run simulation experiments (e.g. mini-ensembles using different parameterisations, sensitivity to model/radiation timestep, dynamics setup, etc.) as discussed during the practicals.

Guest Lectures: guest lectures from computational scientists, high-performance computing and numerical weather prediction experts, atmospheric and climate modellers.

Teaching Methodology

-  7 x 1.5-hour lectures.
-  7 x 1.5-hour practical work (lab) under instruction, towards solving  problems
-  2 guest lecturers
-  7 practicals with the associated homework assignments
-  Presentation of final project


-  Numerical Weather and Climate Prediction, Thomas Tomkins Warner, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-51389-0
-  Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modelling, Jacobson, Cambridge University Press
-  Atmospheric Modelling, Data Assimilation and Predictability, Eugenia Kalnay, Cambridge University Press


Coursework, Report and Presentation Assessment