The global climate model ECHAM was developed by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg/Germany and by the University of Hamburg. At present the model version 5 is mainly used at the institute.
ECHAM calculates the development of global weather situations (temperature, wind, clouds) at time steps of 20 to 40 min when using a spatial resolution of 300 to 500 km. Insolation, climate-relevant gases and sea surface temperatures are prescribed. This mainly determines the simulated climate. Not only single observed weather situations are simulated, but the model provides typical characteristics of the atmospheric circulation such as the mean locations of the Iceland low, the Azores high, and low pressure paths.
During the last years new developments within ECHAM5 concentrated at the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics on the assessment of the climate influence of condensation trails. A new cloud type, the condensation trail cirrus, was introduced consistently to the natural clouds in the model and the development of condensation trail cirrus clouds and their impact on the atmosphere was calculated.