Why climate science is difficult

Erica Thompson

London School of Economics

There are several key issues in climate science that make it a particularly difficult subject from the points of view of mathematics, physics, and philosophy of science.  Dependence on simulation modelling, lack of stationarity, and unquantifiable dynamical sensitivities all contribute to the epistemic challenge.  I will argue that there are more subtleties at work than the simple fact that “prediction is difficult, especially if it’s about the future”, and will describe how some of the mathematical and physical properties of the climate system (and some other analogous systems) lead to a stubborn dominance of predictive uncertainty, despite the simplicity of many of the underlying mechanisms.


London Mathematical Laboratory, 14 Buckingham Street, London, WC2N 6DF

Date & Time

Wednesday 31st July 2013 at 14.00hrs


LML Seminars are free to attend and no registration is required.