The roles of climate models: epistemic, ethical and socio-political perspectives


Place and time

IPO Building, Room 0.11, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, 31st Oct - 1st Nov 2013.




Climate models influence our understanding of climate change, its causes and its future. They are a central technology of climate science. But they are also sources of information for far-reaching policy decisions, sites of multidisciplinary integration, products of distributed epistemic labor and much more. As a consequence, climate models are of significant interest to scholars in philosophy, history of science, and science and technology studies. This workshop will bring together well-regarded scholars in these fields along with established climate scientists to explore the epistemic, ethical and socio-political roles that climate models play, their interactions and implications.



Expected participants

Gregor Betz (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

Judith Curry (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Suraje Dessai (University of Leeds)

Matthias Heymann (Aarhus University)

Rafaela Hillerbrand (Deflt University of Technology)

Kristen Intemann (Montana State University)

Joyashree Roy (Jadavpur University)

Gavin Schmidt (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies)

David Sexton (the MET Office)

Lenny Smith (London School of Economics)

Behnam Taebi (Delft University of Technology)

Erica Thompson (London School of Economics)

Erik van der Vleuten (Eindhoven University of Technology)

Steven Yearley (University of Edinburgh)



Program (draft version)

A pdf-version of the program can be downloaded here.


Thursday, October 31
09:00 – 09:15h Welcome and Coffee
09:15 – 09:30h Introduction to the workshop
09:30 – 10:20h Judith Curry: "A 21st century perspective on climate models from a climate scientist"
  Comments by Wendy Parker
10:20 – 10:40h Coffee/tea break
10:40 – 11:30h Gregor Betz: "Are Climate Models Credible Worlds? Prospects and Limitations of Possibilistic Climate Prediction"
  Comments by Rafaela Hillerbrand
11:30 – 12:30h Group discussion session 1: The epistemic roles of climate models
[Facilitator: Lenny Smith]
12:30 – 14:00h Lunch break
14:00 – 14:50h Kristen Intemann: "Values in Climate Modeling: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”
  Comments by Behnam Taebi
14:50 – 15:40h Steven Yearley: "Models and muggles, representations of ‘models’ in professional, policy and public discourses"
  Comments by Matthias Heymann
15:40 – 16:00h Coffee/tea break
16:00 – 17:00h Group discussion session 2: The centrality of climate models to climate science [Facilitators: Joel Katzav]

















Friday, November 1
09:00 – 09.30h Welcome and Coffee
09:30 – 10:20h Suraje Dessai: "The role of climate models in informing climate adaptation decisions"
  Comments by Joyashree Roy
10:20 – 10:40h Coffee/tea break
10:40 – 11:30h Erica Thompson: "Assessing the evidence: How decision-makers could gain useful insight from climate model results"
  Comments by David Sexton
11:30 – 12:30h Group discussion session 3: The socio-political roles of climate models and the roles of values in climate models [Facilitator: Wendy Parker]
12:30 – 14:00h Lunch break
14:00 – 14:50h Gavin Schmidt: Title TBA
  Comments by Joel Katzav
14:50 – 15:10h Coffee/tea break
15:10 – 16:30h Group discussion session 4: The freelance climate science movement, climate science blogs and climate models [Facilitator: Joel Katzav and Wendy Parker]




Joel Katzav (TU-Eindhoven), Wendy Parker (Durham) and Johan Schot (TU-Eindhoven)




Support for the workshop is being provided by the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, the Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies and the Durham Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society.