Integrative seminar: Professor Tim Palmer, "Climate models and climate model data sets. Why are they so big!?"

Past Event

08 November 2010, 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Professor Tim Palmer, Co-Director of the Programme on Modelling and Predicting Climate Change

Title: "Climate models and climate model data sets. Why are they so big!?"

Climate models come in two classes: idealised, mathematically tractable, models to aid physical understanding, and ab initio, mathematically complex, models to predict climate quantitatively and provide input for climate mitigation and adaptation policy. Why is climate prediction so complex?

Palmer claims that in large part it boils down to two things. The first is the disparity of scale between two of the dominant instabilities in the atmosphere: the convective and the baroclinic. The second is "the butterfly effect", which is, despite everything you may have heard to the contrary, less to do with sensitive dependence on initial conditions in low-order chaos, but rather, in the limit, to do with the possible non-uniqueness of solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations. Palmer will discuss the consequences of these issues for the future of climate prediction.

Please register if you would like to attend - via the website at: or by email to: