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The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase three, provided the scientific basis for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Under the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) the Working Group on Cloupled Modelling (WGCM) established the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) as a standard experimental protocol for studying the output of coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs). CMIP provides a community-based infrastructure in support of climate model diagnosis, validation, intercomparison, documentation and data access. This framework enables a diverse community of scientists to analyze GCMs in a systematic fashion, a process which serves to facilitate model improvement. Virtually the entire international climate modeling community has participated in this project since its inception in 1995. The Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) archives much of the CMIP data and provides other support for CMIP. PCMDI's CMIP effort is funded by the Regional and Global Climate Modeling (RGCM) Program of the Climate and Environmental Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program.

Phase three of CMIP (CMIP3) included "realistic" scenarios for both past and present climate forcing. The research based on this dataset provided much of the new material underlying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

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