Planetary Climate Simulator

Over at the Rocketpunk Observatory site, Rick Robinson put up an interesting little climate simulation app some time ago. The original app runs perfectly well on Windows XP, but I can’t get the code to compile on MacOS. Fortunately Jonathan Braze ported most of the functionality to Linux(on Robinson’s site – scroll down past Planetary Climate Sim to the Update, or click here to download the source directly). Braze’s code compiles on MacOS X without a problem and, at least so far, seems to run perfectly.

Now, a more rigorous approach might insist on using a full-on GCM. For example, Jeno Marz uses MITgcm and I respect her for her dedication, but unfortunately I can’t get that program going on Mac or Windows. It would be terribly cool to be able to get the depth and breadth of realism that Ms. Marz attains, but for the foreseeable future that’s beyond my limits.

As mr. Robinson makes clear, this planetary climate simulator is very approximate and some parameters are merely guesstimates on his part. Although the results aren’t necessarily terribly rigorous, they are plausible. Unless you can enter a set of planetary parameters into a gcm and get it running, this should do. If you do manage to chug an imaginary planet through a gcm, please post instructions and let me know!

In the next post, I’ll post the results of some runs with varying parameters.

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