Abstract for: Modelling the Climate System using System Dynamics

Climate research centers around the globe work relentlessly to create more realistic models of the climate system in order to provide scientific material for the IPCC reports. Given a variety of future scenarios of mankind's development (greenhouse gas emissions, technological development, socio-economic development, population growth and so forth) the climate models are run forward in time to estimate the consequences of these scenarios on the natural climate system. Scientists try to quantify how the feedback effects are changing as the climate system is moving away from its stable balance. One looks for evidence of tipping points and for evidence of how the manmade forcing is trickling out to the entire Earth System. But looking for causal relationships and feedback loops in a climate model is as hard as looking for one in nature. Instead, we model the feedback loops directly, using system dynamics. A major advantage, in addition to yielding a feedback-focused view of climate, is the speed at which these models can be run. Regular climate models are time consuming to run and the climate research community is focused on higher resolution and richer process representation. A system dynamics model, on the hand, is fast to run and yields itself natural to sensitivity studies and uncertainty estimation.