Predicting changes: Testing climate model accuracy

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    Scientists use climate models to investigate the behaviour of the climate system and to simulate how the climate may respond to changes, including the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases caused by human activities. To enable scientists to asses their accuracy, computer models are also used to simulate historical climate periods. Scientists examine data from model simulations of the present and 20th-century climate and compare them with observations from the same period. The models aren’t perfect, but their general performance at simulating climate patterns and trends gives scientists confidence in the models’ ability to represent the climate.