Prediction and vulnerability
Predictions and the development of predictive models are an essential part of scientist’s work in Earth sciences. Modern society couldn’t function without these predictions: Ranging from the short term (space) weather predictions that keep everyday society running smoothly, to long term climate predictions that ideally should guide policy. Predictive models need validation, and since we cannot force the future the best way to do this is by hindcasting the models on previous, historic data. A key use of predictive modeling is the identification of vulnerabilities in the Earth system. Vulnerabilities are changes in the system that either have adverse effects or, because of hysteresis, are very hard to reverse. As a result of global warming there is no lack of vulnerabilities as the large influx of greenhouse gases is quickly pushing the Earth system away from any stable state into new and uncharted territory. While some of the changes may be considered positive, most changes will have severe negative impacts on society, especially in regions where a lack of resources makes mitigation impossible.
This session focusses on ways to predict the Earth systems and the identification or quantification of vulnerabilities. It deals with a variety of topics such as the technical difficulties of making predictions or setting up models for this purpose, to the actual predictions themselves and the vulnerabilities these predictions may uncover. Furthermore, the essential steps that lead to good predictions, like model validation and hindcasting, belong to this session. We also welcome any projects that deal with the identification of vulnerability thresholds and paths back when thresholds have been exceeded.
The keynote speaker for this session is Dr. Natalie Krivova, who is the group leader of the Minerva group Solar Variability and Climate at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen. She studies solar variability and how it affects Earth’s climate. These changes in solar magnetic flux and radiance differ on scales from days to millennia. She aims to reconstruct such changes throughout the Holocene to be able to predict sun variability in the future.