Build Your Own Earth: A Web-Based Tool for Exploring Climate-Model Output in Teaching and Research

David Schultz, Jonathan G. Fairman Jr., Stuart Anderson, Sharon Gardner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Build Your Own Earth was designed as a web-based tool for the user to select various characteristics of a planet and see what the climate of that planet would be like. Due to the limitations of computer resources, pre-simulated Earths were run using the Fast Ocean–Atmosphere Model at relatively coarse resolution. The tool provides 50 different Earth configurations in three categories: Recent, Ancient, and Alien Earths. Recent Earths fix the continental configuration at the present day and vary the axial tilt, eccentricity, and greenhouse gas concentrations. Ancient Earths include a series of paleoclimate simulations from the Last Glacial Maximum 21,000 years ago to the Ediacaran 600 million years ago. Alien Earths include an aquaplanet, terraplanet, ice planet, and various idealized continental configurations. Fifty different monthly-averaged quantities are available to view in an annual cycle from four different map projections. Build Your Own Earth was built and designed for an online massive open online course, but has also been used in the classroom at Manchester, as well as research projects on paleoclimate and planetary habitability, for example. The tool at is freely available for anyone to access.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
    Early online date10 Jan 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2017


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