Model scope and methods - GCAM

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Model Documentation - GCAM

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Model information
Model link
Institution Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joint Global Change Research Institute (PNNL, JGCRI), USA,
Solution concept General equilibrium (closed economy)GCAM solves all energy, water, and land markets simultaneously
Solution method Recursive dynamic solution method
Anticipation GCAM is a dynamic recursive model, meaning that decision-makers do not know the future when making a decision today. After it solves each period, the model then uses the resulting state of the world, including the consequences of decisions made in that period - such as resource depletion, capital stock retirements and installations, and changes to the landscape - and then moves to the next time step and performs the same exercise. For long-lived investments, decision-makers may account for future profit streams, but those estimates would be based on current prices. For some parts of the model, economic agents use prior experience to form expectations based on multi-period experiences.

The Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM) is a global model that represents the behavior of, and interactions between five systems: energy, water, agriculture and land use, economy, and climate. It is used in a wide range of different applications from the exploration of fundamental questions about the complex dynamics between human and Earth systems to those associated with response strategies to address important environmental questions. GCAM is a community model stewarded by The Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI). Full documentation for GCAM can be found here.

GCAM is an integrated, multi-sector model that explores both human and Earth system dynamics. The role of models like GCAM is to bring multiple human and physical Earth systems together in one place to shed light on system interactions and provide scientific insights that would not otherwise be available from the pursuit of traditional disciplinary scientific research alone. GCAM is constructed to explore these interactions in a single computational platform with a sufficiently low computational requirement to allow for broad explorations of scenarios and uncertainties. Components of GCAM are designed to capture the behavior of human and physical systems, but they do not necessarily include the most detailed process-scale representations of its constituent components. On the other hand, model components in principle provide a faithful representation of the best current scientific understanding of underlying behavior. See GCAM Model Overview for an overview of the model and its capabilities.