Climate and Weather Modelling as a Wicked Problem

Dr. Tim Ball, one of my favourite authors on issues of climate, has a guest posting at Watts up with that. He discusses the Gestalt Learning theory as it applies to perception and problem-solving in climatology and how it demonstrates recent failures in climatology. He says of the IPCC:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fails for many reasons, but, not least, is the problem of specialisation. In fact, they have a much larger problem because there are crossovers and similarities within the specialisation that are markedly different between the sciences. This is demonstrated in their Working Group I (WGI) The Physical Science Basis Report and those in Social Science Reports of Working Groups II and II. Then, they run into serious problems when they tried to integrate political and economic models. Integrating them with economic and social scenarios of WG II and III and calling them projections, supposedly masked failures of the scientific predictions of WGI. This goes a long way to explaining why a few people with a political objective were able to create the unrepresentative, unreal, Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

What I really liked was his Figure 1 which shows a “simple-enough” representation of the components involved with weather, and hence climate, which demonstrates how wicked the problem actually is. To attribute weather/climate to a few simple things is a fool’s mission:

From: Ball, Tim,


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