General circulation model

From Glossary of Meteorology
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general circulation model

(Abbreviated GCM.) A time-dependent numerical model of the atmosphere.

The governing equations are the conservation laws of physics expressed in finite-difference form, spectral form, or finite-element form. Evolution of the model circulation is computed by time integration of those equations starting from an initial condition. The GCM can be used for weather prediction or for climate studies.
Compare atmospheric circulation model, regional climate model, hemispheric model.