The Earth has humans, so why don't our climate models?


While climate models have rapidly advanced in sophistication over recent decades, they lack dynamic representation of human behavior and social systems despite strong feedbacks between social processes and climate. The impacts of climate change alter perceptions of risk and emissions behavior that, in turn, influence the rate and magnitude of climate change. Addressing this deficiency in climate models requires a substantial interdisciplinary effort to couple models of climate and human behavior. We suggest a multi-model approach that considers a range of theories and implementations of human behavior and social systems, similar to the multi-model approach that has been used to explore the physical climate system. We describe the importance of linking social factors with climate processes and identify four priorities essential to advancing the development of coupled social-climate models.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Brian Beckage, University of Vermont
Katherine Lacasse, Rhode Island College
Jonathan M. Winter
Louis J. Gross
Nina Fefferman, Rutgers University
Forrest M. Hoffman
Sara S. Metcalf
Travis Franck, Tufts University
Eric Carr
Ann Kinzig, Arizona State University
Climatic Change

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