Subprojects

1) Negotiation of simulation knowledge: Responses from climatology

This subproject examines the discussion and negotiation of new modeling approaches and knowledge by climatological communities in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia and will focus on leading climatologists such as Hubert H. Lamb (1913-1997) and Gordon V. Manley (1902-1980) in England, Hermann Flohn (1912-1997) and Richard T. A. Scherhag (1907-1970) in Germany, and Hans W. Ahlmann (1898-1974), Carl-Gustaf Rossby (1898-1957) and Bert Bolin (1925-2007) in Scandinavia.

This subproject will (1) emphasize that the path to climate modeling was not a linear progress story, but the outcome of a competition between different knowledge claims and epistemic standards in a variety of research fields vying for intellectual authority, legitimacy and funding, and (2) showcase the importance of personal, cultural and political contexts for the development of research fields. Finally, it will (3) help build an appreciation of the diversity of knowledge cultures and forms of knowledge about climate, which will inform and broaden present-day discourses on climate change.

 

2) From heuristic to predictive climate simulation: Agendas in the modeling communities

This subproject examines the shift from heuristic to predictive use of climate models and asks how climate models came to enjoy scientific authority as predictive tools. It will focus on investigating the work and impact of leading US climate modelers such as modelers Stephen H. Schneider (1945-2010), William W. Kellogg (1917-2007), and James E. Hansen (*1941) and their contributions to predictive climate modeling in the period from about 1970 to 1985.

This subproject will (1) help to illuminate differences of interests, perceptions and practices within the climate modeling community, and decisions they entailed. It will (2) explore the strong interaction of scientific and political interests, which paved the way for an application of climate models for predictive use, and which supported a consensual framing of climate change and a partial merging of scientific and political agendas. Finally, it will (3) provide a better understanding of scientific, political and cultural sources of confidence and trust in climates models and their use as predictive tools.

 

Dissemination Project

The project includes a dissemination project in its final phase to (1) evaluate and synthesize our broad findings and original sources for publication on a dedicated website and (2) develop and professionally design the website to be hosted by the Center for History of Physics (American Institute of Physics, AIP) with professional assistance from the AIP.