Wk 2: Bachelet

Curse of Knowledge and Sins of Omission

Modeling Global Change

Dominique Bachelet

4-5:30, Tuesday, October 6, 2009, LH 1

PLATO Royalty Lecture Series[1]


Abstract: For the last 20 years climate modelers have summarized and synthesized world-wide knowledge of earth climate dynamics in general circulation models. Since they started projecting our planet’s future climate, biologists have tried to use their results to forecast outcomes relevant to human pursuits such as agriculture and/or conservation. Interdisciplinary research efforts are currently underway to more closely link surface processes such as vegetation shifts, disturbances, and human activities to atmospheric and ocean dynamics at finer temporal and spatial scales. While model complexity increases, the needs for ever increasing computer storage and computing power escalate along with sources of uncertainty. In the face of global change, our effort to quantify current understanding of earth system processes in models is essential as it highlights gaps in current knowledge. However, the usability of the model results is critical and the skills to visualize and express the degree of uncertainty associated with simulation outcomes have become vital to ensure users interpret the data wisely.

The Speaker:  Dr. Dominique Bachelet is currently Senior Climate Change Scientist,Conservation Biology Institute, and member of the Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering at Oregon State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Colorado State University, and has extensively modeled ecological systems, including interactions between plant and animals in terms of carbon, water and nutrient cycling in the shortgrass prairie, nitrogen fixation and carbon and nitrogen budget, UV-B impacts, and climate change impacts on paddy rice ecosystems in Asia.  Prof. Bachelet was formerly Director of the Climate Change Science Team for The Nature Conservancy.

Dominiques Slides are here.

Dominique Bachelet (6 October 2009) provided an in-depth analysis about all of the ins and outs about scientific modeling forecast impacts of climate change, as theoretical. Forecast of impacts. “The purpose of models is not to fit the data, but to sharpen the question” also talked about using climate models to advise policymakers.

Companion Reading (Students, be aware that your program might have additional reading! Check the appropriate web site)

S. Prisley, M. Mortimer.  2004.  A synthesis of literature on evaluation of models for policy applications, with implications for forest carbon accounting.  Forest Ecology and Management 198, 89-103.

Dominique also recommends the book (not assigned!): Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can’t Predict the Future, by Orrin H. Pilkey and Linda Pilkey-Jarvis.

[1] This Lecture Series is sponsored by Evergreen’s PLATO Royalty Fund, a fund established with royalties from computer assisted instruction (CAI) software, written by Evergreen faculty John Aikin Cushing and students in the early 1980’s, for the Control Data PLATO system.