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Escape from model-land

March 8, 2019
By Erica L. Thompson and Leonard A. Smith

Mathematical modeling, general circulation models of the climate, contribute to our understanding of the world, but they have severe limits when not informed by actual real world data.

From the Abstract:

Both mathematical modelling and simulation methods in general have contributed greatly to understanding, insight and forecasting in many fields including macroeconomics. Nevertheless, we must remain careful to distinguish model-land and model-land quantities from the real world. Decisions taken in the real world are more robust when informed by our best estimate of real-world quantities, than when “optimal” model-land quantities obtained from imperfect simulations are employed. The authors present a short guide to some of the temptations and pitfalls of model-land, some directions towards the exit, and two ways to escape.