"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Monday, June 7, 2010

Climatology as Pure Science vs as Applied Science

"Pure" sounds so much higher, but in many ways applied science has higher standards. I've been saying this for years.

Judith Curry makes the point effectively here.

Yet another hat tip to Neverending Audit.


manuel moe g said...

Your top quote is from publicity from Naoimi Oreskes' important book, and you point out the first sensible thing I have heard from Judith Curry.

Today I feel hopeful!

Martin Vermeer said...

You (and Curry) have a point, but I'm not sure it's the correct point. Yes, I expect that good software V&V practices will become a part of climate modelling as used for policy making, just as we see in the nuclear industry.

Will it make climate models more correct? Probably somewhat, at great expense. Still, I remember Steve Easterbrook finding that the informal QA methods used in climatology already produce remarkably high quality code.

And of course we all know that the real issues with climate modelling quality are in representing the physics, rather than formal code correctness. This is optimizing the trees for the forest, and probably a very subopimal use of resources if overall quality is the objective.

Yet, I have no doubt we are going there. It's politically inevitable. But let's be explicit: it's about creating the appearance of rigor. As such, it is just another (small) aspect of scientists having to get much better at public relations. What you have written about a lot, Michael.

Hank Roberts said...

Hope this is an appropriate place, if not feel free to bump it or dump it.

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pough said...

With regards to the comment from Willis that she was responding to... How much science would be "discredited and disowned" if all data were required to still be around?