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Charlotte Werndl (Salzburg): “Initial Conditions Uncertainty and Initial Conditions Dependence in Climate Science”

8 December 2020, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

This event will take place online via Zoom. 

Everyone is welcome to join using a computer with access to the internet and Zoom. To take part just follow these instructions:

Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.

Abstract: This talk examines initial conditions dependence and initial conditions uncertainty for climate projections and predictions. First, a clear conceptual characterisation of predictions and projections is given. Concerning initial conditions dependence, projections are often described as experiments that do not depend on initial conditions. Although prominent, this claim has not been scrutinized much and I argue that evidence does not support this claim. Concerning initial conditions uncertainty, several kinds of initial conditions uncertainty are identified (two of them have not been discussed much so far). Overall, the discussion shows that initial conditions dependence and uncertainty in climate science are more complex and important issues than usually acknowledged.


Charlotte Werndl is a Professor of philosophy and Deputy-Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Salzburg.


8 December 2020
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


Online via Zoom