A key way of understanding our climate and making projections about how it may change in the future is to use climate models.
These are essentially simulations of the Earth’s climate system. They are made up of millions of lines of computer code which represent the physical processes which govern our atmosphere and oceans.
Supercomputers then run the code using observations of modern day climate, with the models able to recreate the past (hindcasting) or give projections of the future (forecasting).
Looking at the past is important for understanding historical changes and influences on climate, and it also allows scientists to gauge how accurate the models are (by comparing model output to reality).
Looking at the future enables researchers to see how things might change given various different scenarios – such as changing levels of greenhouse gases.
The Met Office uses models to look at many different timescales and to study different aspects of the Earth’s climate system.
You can find out more about how climate models work in our YouTube video.