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The future of climate modeling.

Katzav, J. and Parker, W.S. (2015) 'The future of climate modeling.', Climatic change., 132 (4). pp. 475-487.


Recently a number of scientists have proposed substantial changes to the practice of climate modeling, though they disagree over what those changes should be. We provide an overview and critical examination of three leading proposals: the unified approach, the hierarchy approach and the pluralist approach. The unified approach calls for an accelerated development of high-resolution models within a seamless prediction framework. The hierarchy approach calls for more attention to the development and systematic study of hierarchies of related models, with the aim of advancing understanding. The pluralist approach calls for greater diversity in modeling efforts, including, on some of its variants, more attention to empirical modeling. After identifying some of the scientific and institutional challenges faced by these proposals, we consider their expected gains and costs, relative to a business-as-usual modeling scenario. We find the proposals to be complementary, having valuable synergies. But since resource limitations make it unlikely that all three will be pursued, we offer some reflections on more limited changes in climate modeling that seem well within reach and that can be expected to yield substantial benefits.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© The Author(s) 2015 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Date accepted:17 May 2015
Date deposited:29 January 2016
Date of first online publication:18 June 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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