Exact projections of climate change over the next century are still uncertain owing not only to the unknowns of future anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission, but also because many physical processes and their coupling to other components of the climate system are not understood or well represented in current climate models. The land surface, the atmosphere, the cryosphere, and the ocean and how they coupled are all being studied at UW.
Researchers affiliated with the PCC are studying multiple aspects of the physics of the climate system, from the dynamics of oceanic western boundary currents to the detailed study of the dynamics in the tropics and their impacts on El Nino. Cloud processes, the radiative balance, and the climate systems are also areas of current concentration as well as longer term coupling between atmospheric circulation and mountain evolution. The dynamics of sea and land based ice and their potential evolution in the future is also being examined.