Simulating Nature (2nd edition)

by Arthur C. Petersen

Buy Simulating Nature (2nd edition) from:

CRC Press



Contents of this site:

Frontmatter, Including Table of Contents

Chapter 1 (Introduction)

Chapter 3 (A Typology of Uncertainty in Scientific Simulation)

Chapter 7 (Assessments of Climate-Simulation Uncertainty for Policy Advice)



Contact the Author

Arthur C. Petersen (1970)
For more information about the author, visit his homepage at the VU University Amsterdam


Amongst the heated politics of climate science, Petersen’s book does a rare thing. As a philosopher he takes a step back and asks, ‘What sort of knowledge is generated by climate models: is it reliable, is it authoritative, how is it used, is it useful?’ This new edition, fully updated six years after the first, should be read by all those producing or using, criticising or praising, believing or disbelieving, knowledge claims based on climate models. At the least, you will better be able to defend your position; and you may even find yourself changing it.
—Mike Hulme, professor of climate change, University of East Anglia, UK

In this thought-provoking philosophical analysis, Arthur Petersen explores the nature of climate simulation and attendant uncertainties. Building on this evaluation, Petersen considers the complex processes within the scientific community, and between scientists and society, that ultimately determine whether an assessment becomes a robust, shared basis for decision, or contested and a source of dispute. He points out that it is not enough to analyze uncertainty as a purely technical problem. Deeper uncertainties such as those that stem from the way the problem is framed, models are structured, or expert judgments are made, must also be considered. His analysis has implications not only for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other assessment bodies, but for all who debate the reliability and utility of model simulations as a basis for managing environmental risks in the anthropocene era.
—Richard Moss, senior staff scientist, PNNL Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland, College Park, USA


- Page 137, footnote: change 'page 100' into 'page 95'.

Contact the Author

Dr. Arthur C. Petersen
Professor of Science and Environmental Public Policy
Institute for Environmental Studies – Instituut voor Milieuvraagstukken (IVM)
Amsterdam Global Change Institute (AGCI)
VU University Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1087
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
m + 31 (0)6 27654044
t + 31 (0)20 59 89510
f + 31 (0)20 59 89553

Date last modified: 12 May 2012