The Importance of Climate Models

Erik Nielsen

Professor Leary

INTD 250


The Importance of Climate Models

While there are certain uncertainties about the earth’s future climate, I still believe that climate models are very useful for making informed decisions to deal with climate change. To recall what Professor Leary had said during our most recent class,” climate is what you can expect, weather is what you get.” Climate models are simply predictions of weather patterns that we can expect in the coming future given the current trends of greenhouse gas emissions and other similar anthropogenically caused climate factors.

Climate models are postulates that try to anticipate future climactic outcomes. However, often times many climate models are incredibly complex and have to take in mass amounts of data sets which can sometimes lead to errors. While there may be faults involved in these climate models, the overall trends / predictions they make are still quite significant and accurate. Another example from class of an informed conjecture is the statement,” it is hotter during the day than at night.” While I cannot tell you the exact temperature, I can make a knowledgeable inference based on the previous information and trends I am aware of.

Climate models are very similar to this. ‘While we will not know the percent change in rainfall, we can know that there will be a change in the amount of rain.’ Having knowledge of this trend is still very important when it comes to making decisions in regards to adapting to climate change. Additionally, with every new advance in the speed of computers and the efficiency / complexity of technologies, these climate models become more and more sophisticated and precise. Climate models produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are produced roughly a little less than every decade. With each release of a new climate model, the data used and the subsequent models produced have been more robust and accurate with their predictions.

And while there is still uncertainty in the exact future outcomes of the earth’s climate, an overwhelming majority of scientists would agree with the fact that humans are drastically changing the earth’s climate for the worse. “(We) have to recognize that we already have a good scientific understanding of how human-induced environmental changes influence the biophysical environment… Focusing on scientific uncertainty diverts attention away from the factors that generate vulnerability and create human insecurities” (O’Brien 1,2). Using the information from climate models as a foundation to make informed climate decisions will be very necessary in the coming future as climate change worsens. And while we ‘cannot predict the amount it will rain, we know it will.’ So, to ignore climate models due to their partial uncertainties would be misuse of their potential and an injustice towards vulnerable populations around the world. The trends and inclinations produced from climate models are necessary to form the foundation to make the informed decisions that humanity needs to prepare for and adapt to climate change.


Work Cited

O’Brien, Karen. “Are we missing the point? Global environmental change as an issue of human security.” (2006): 1-3.

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