Many critics of the findings of climate science point quickly to flaws in climate models or even in the idea of modeling in general as a basis for understanding the earth system. Some believe that because we don’t understand all there is to know about the earth, we can’t possibly model it. But that is entirely wrong! In fact, if we knew everything there was to know about the earth system, there would be no need to model it. We use models to explore the things we don’t know by coming up with hypotheses to test. While they don’t give us a perfect picture of the reality of the earth system, climate scientists know this and take it into account. That’s why we’re eager to evaluate uncertainty and constantly improve our models. In the end, models are an invaluable tool for advancing climate science.
I saw this interesting article on Skeptical Science recently about the science behind climate models: “Why trust climate models? It’s a matter of simple science.” It explains a bit about how models are made and how they’re used.
The schematic given of a couple climate model is of the Community Earth System Model, which I used for my master’s research.