David Stainforth will be discussing the paper Fundamental Characteristics that Frame the Study of Climate Change.


What do we mean by climate, what constitutes climate change and what are the implications of our definitions for climate predictions and the use of academic results in climate policy?  I will discuss these questions using simple mathematical systems to illustrate the essential challenges we face when trying to derive robust, decision-relevant, conclusions. A particular focus will be on how we use, and misuse, large, complex computer models.

I will present seven characteristics that frame the study of climate change and transform what might otherwise be scientifically easily soluble questions into deep, conceptual, multi-disciplinary, foundational challenges. I will conclude with a discussion of ways forward, priority areas on which to focus research, and barriers to the generation of useful information created by today’s academic and research structures.

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