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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Wendy Parker

Parker, Wendy (2009). Confirmation and Adequacy-for-Purpose in Climate Modelling. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83(1): 233-249.

Author(s) from Durham


Lloyd (2009) contends that climate models are confirmed by various instances of fit between their output and observational data. The present paper argues that what these instances of fit might confirm are not climate models themselves, but rather hypotheses about the adequacy of climate models for particular purposes. This required shift in thinking—from confirming climate models to confirming their adequacy-for-purpose—may sound trivial, but it is shown to complicate the evaluation of climate models considerably, both in principle and in practice.