NBA History of Science Seminar


Matthias Heymann, Centre of Science Studies, Department of Mathematics, Aarhus University

Matthias Heymann, "Cultures of Prediction: Towards an Understanding of the Hegemony of Climate Models"

Climate modeling and simulation has become a hegemonic knowledge resource in the late 20th century. It gained scientific and political importance and visibility, whereas traditional and alternative resources of climate knowledge received increasingly less attention. On the other hand, climate models include significant simplifications. Climate modelers agree that they do not represent all features of the atmosphere realistically. In addition, knowledge derived from climate simulation suffers from significant uncertainties, which limited its acceptance in parts of the scientific community. In my contribution I will show that the emergence and increasing predominance of knowledge based on climate simulation went along with shifts of epistemic and cultural standards in science. Climate scientists responded to changing cultural contexts and created a culture of climate prediction. My contribution will focus on the early history of climate modeling in the USA and in the UK from about 1960 to 1980.