The co-development of models with expert judgement suppresses model diversity and underestimates risk [post]

Erica Thompson
2021 unpublished
It is well-understood that mathematical models are developed with the aid of expert judgement about the relevant real-world processes. Here, I first consider the influence of the mathematical model itself upon our expert judgement. Having established a two-way relationship between model and expert judgement, I then consider some epistemic concerns arising from the difficulty of separating model information from expert judgement, concluding that statistical methods for assessing uncertainty in
more » ... ng uncertainty in climate sensitivity are inadequate. I offer two potential solutions to these epistemic concerns. One: pre-registration of model experiments prior to the development of a model, and another: active exploration of other possible model structures based on different starting points and (ideally) different expert input. Next, I offer some practical recommendations for communication of climate information: we must distinguish statements about a model from statements about the real world, and it could be useful to consider ending climate simulations at a threshold of temperature change rather than on an arbitrary time scale. Having identified the climate modelling community (of researchers/modellers and the mathematical and computational entities which are the models themselves) as a cognitive assemblage, I suggest that policy-relevant science and decision-making would benefit from closer examination of the kinds of models and expertise that are privileged within this system and from actively encouraging greater model diversity. The current suppression of diversity results in underestimation of risk. Although I use climate as an example, these recommendations are generalisable to other policy-relevant modelling communities.
doi:10.21203/ fatcat:4humvaljw5gobhrjz2p2fi2twu