The Open Atmospheric Science Journal

ISSN: 1874-2823 ― Volume 9, 2015

Evaluating the Predictive and Explanatory Value of Atmospheric Numerical Models: Between Relativism and Objectivism

The Open Atmospheric Science Journal , 2008, 2: 38-45

D.G. Steyn, S. Galmarini

Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Electronic publication date 10/4/2008
[DOI: 10.2174/1874282300802010038]


We discuss the ways in which atmospheric numerical models can be shown to have both predictive and explanatory value. This argument rests largely on the established predictive value of numerical weather forecasts, and can be extended to atmospheric models at larger- and smaller scales. We demonstrate that atmospheric modellers have not been particularly critical about the logical basis of model evaluation, and recommend strategic approaches to remedy this. Our suggestions involve the creation of a spatio-temporal scale-dependent and context-relative ordinal scale for model evaluation that must be applied in an a-priori, context-dependent fashion.

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