Why do scientists use models?

Why do scientists use models?

Difficulty Rating: Easy . Academic Discipline: Earth Science . Keywords: career in science, trusting science, uncertainty

Standards: Models, Probability and Uncertainty, Nature of Science

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Clip Guide

Clip Guide

: Here you will find clear descriptions of what you just saw, how they know what they said they knew, why they know it to be trustworthy information. Finally we will ask the question, "So what!" and explore why the information is important.

WHAT do we know?

In this clip from a 2009 interview, climate modeler Jerry Meehl explains how climate models work, what they are used for, and what we can learn from them. This interview was conducted by AGCI during a workshop on Advanced Climate Modeling and Decision-Making Support of Climate Services, held in Aspen, Colorado. 

WHO are they?

Dr. Jerry (Gerald) Meehl is a Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His research interests include studying the interactions between El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the monsoons of Asia; identifying possible effects on global climate of changing anthropogenic forcings, such as carbon dioxide, as well as natural forcings, such as solar variability; and quantifying possible future changes of weather and climate extremes in a warmer climate.  He serves as chair of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Climate Research Committee, chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii, co-chair of the Community Climate System Model Climate Change Working Group, and co-chair of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Working Group on Coupled Models (WGCM).

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Further Reading
Further Reading: 

At the 2009 workshop where this interview was conducted, Jerry Meehl also gave a scientific  presentation: Issues for Climate Prediction and Climate Services. The complete PowerPoint for this presentation can be found on the AGCI website.