1st Edition

Cultures of Prediction in Atmospheric and Climate Science Epistemic and Cultural Shifts in Computer-based Modelling and Simulation

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    In recent decades, science has experienced a revolutionary shift. The development and extensive application of computer modelling and simulation has transformed the knowledge‐making practices of scientific fields as diverse as astro‐physics, genetics, robotics and demography. This epistemic transformation has brought with it a simultaneous heightening of political relevance and a renewal of international policy agendas, raising crucial questions about the nature and application of simulation knowledges throughout public policy.

    Through a diverse range of case studies, spanning over a century of theoretical and practical developments in the atmospheric and environmental sciences, this book argues that computer modelling and simulation have substantially changed scientific and cultural practices and shaped the emergence of novel ‘cultures of prediction’.

    Making an innovative, interdisciplinary contribution to understanding the impact of computer modelling on research practice, institutional configurations and broader cultures, this volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in the past, present and future of climate change and the environmental sciences.

    1. Introduction
      Matthias Heymann, Gabriele Gramelsberger, Martin Mahony
    2. Key characteristics of cultures of prediction
      Matthias Heymann, Gabriele Gramelsberger, Martin Mahony

      Part I Junctions: Science and politics of prediction
    3. Calculating the weather. Emerging cultures of meteorological prediction in late ninetieth and early twentieth century Europe
      Gabriele Gramelsberger
    4. Which design for a weather predictor? Speculating on the future of electronic forecasting in post‐war America
      Christoph Rosol

      5) A new climate. Hubert H. Lamb and boundary work at the UK Meteorological Office
      Janet Martin-Nielsen

    1. From heuristic to predictive. Making climate models into political instruments
      Matthias Heymann, Nils Randlev Hundebøl
    2. How to develop climate models? The "gamble" of improving climate model parameterizations
      Hélène Guillemot
    3. Part II Challenges and debates: Negotiating and using simulation knowledge

    4. The (re)emergence of regional climate. Mobile models, regional visions and the government of climate change
      Martin Mahony
    5. Bellwether, exceptionalism, and other tropes. Political coproduction of arctic climate modeling
      Nina Wormbs, Ralf Döscher, Annika E. Nilsson, Sverker Sörlin
    6. From predictive to instructive. Using models for geo engineering
      Johann Feichter, Markus Quante
    7. Validating models in the face of uncertainty. Geotechnical engineering and dike vulnerability in the Netherlands
      Matthijs Kouw
    8. Tracing uncertainty management through four IPCC Assessment Reports and beyond Catharina Landström
    9. The future face of the Earth. The visual semantics of the future in the climate change imagery of the IPCC
      Birgit Schneider



    Matthias Heymann is Associate Professor for the history of science and technology at the Centre for Science Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Gabriele Gramelsberger is a Professor for philosophy of digital media at the University Witten/Herdecke, Germany.

    Martin Mahony is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Geography, University of Nottingham.

    "Predicting the (climatic) future is never an innocent or neutral act.  Climate predictions emerge from particular value-laden cultures; hence these predicted  futures exert a powerful control over the present.  For this reason, the ‘black-box’ of climate prediction needs critical scrutiny from the social and humanistic sciences, a task brilliantly executed in this new collection of essays." - Mike Hulme, professor of climate and culture, King’s College London

    "This is a truly outstanding survey of the cultures of prediction in the field of atmospheric and climate science. Through case studies and illustrative examples drawn from a wide range of countries and disciplines, the authors skillfully trace both epistemic and cultural shifts in modelling and simulation techniques." - Helmuth Trischler, Head of Research of the Deutsches Museum, Munich, and Director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, University of Munich

    "Prediction is everywhere in our societies but we usually do not interrogate how we actually do predictions, including in environmental sciences. Cultures of Prediction is thus essential reading – and a fascinating set of case studies. But more, it illuminates beautifully the culture and politics of expertise in global environmental change." - Mark Carey, Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Clark Honors College, University of Oregon

    "Cultures of Prediction brings together a wonderfully rich kaleidoscope of empirical perspectives to create a new vision for the social study of atmospheric and climate science. The unifying focus on computer modelling and simulation represents a substantial and very timely intellectual achievement. It is an indispensable resource for academics and practitioners alike." - Phaedra Daipha, Rutgers University, author of Masters of Uncertainty: Weather Forecasters and the Quest for Ground Truth

    "Because it addresses weather and climate models from multiple perspectives, scholars from science and social science disciplines will find this book of interest as it touches on the intersection of science and politics in model development, knowledge development, and applications." - Kristine C. Harper, Associate Professor of History, Department of History, Florida State University, Tallahassee