For your Science Action production, take charge of one topic from our themes of Climate Science, Fusion Physics, or Engineering at Large…
What makes a theory? How do hypotheses and experiments become models and predictions? How does scientific consensus get translated into a public acceptance?
At first glance, the scientific modeling of an “open” system, such as the climate and its interacting constituent components—multiple layers of planetary atmosphere and ocean zones, subducting lithospheres and natural sequestration of greenhouse gases—may appear too complex to confidently develop. Yet, the careful synthesis of atmospheric, oceanic, and geological studies has allowed scientists to construct robust models that offer a credible and reliable interpretation of human influence on the Earth’s average planetary temperature.
A global community of climate scientists continues to consolidate and refine this scientific theory with experiments and computational modeling. Meanwhile, the public struggles to make sense of the important questions related to a theory of climate change. How can geological time scales be reconciled with the brief history of human activity? How do anthropogenic gases and aerosols jointly influence temperature change? What can the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt predict about abrupt climate change?
In Climate Science, we examine the relevant models and describe their particular successes and limitations at describing one aspect of climate science.