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a practical philosophy of complex climate modellingWe give an overview of the practice of developing and using complex climate models, as seen from experiences in a major climate modelling center and through participation in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP).We discuss the construction and calibration of models; their evaluation, especially through use of out-of-sample tests; and their exploitation in multi-model ensembles to identify biases and make predictions. We stress that adequacy or utility of climate models is best assessed via their skill against more naive predictions. The framework we use for making inferences about reality using simulations is naturally Bayesian (in an informal sense), and has many points of contact with more familiar examples of scientific epistemology. While the use of complex simulations in science is a development that changes much in how science is done in practice, we argue that the concepts being applied fit very much into traditional practices of the scientific method, albeit those more often associated with laboratory work.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Schmidt, Gavin A.
(NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY United States)
Sherwood, Steven
(New South Wales Univ. Sydney, Australia)
Date Acquired
April 12, 2016
Publication Date
December 9, 2014
Publication Information
Publication: European Journal of Philosophy of Science
Volume: 5
Issue: 2
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Computer Programming and Software
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 509496.
Distribution Limits
complex simulation
model skill
climate models