1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | All | Print this article
Download PDF

« Back

The Climate Collaboratorium: A New Forum Brings Experts Together to Combat Global Warming

A Model Approach to Problem Solving

The Climate Collaboratorium is like Wikipedia with a much grander ambition: to create an open-source computer model of the Earth’s atmosphere and the human systems whose carbon emissions affect it. Anyone with sufficient expertise will be able to add to, change, or critique the model — or rather, models. In reality, the Climate Collaboratorium’s model will be a gateway to dozens of underlying models created by specialists in every discipline pertinent to the problem. The first one to be included, which focuses on the effects of carbon emissions on temperatures and sea level, was developed by MIT Sloan’s Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management, John Sterman and colleagues.

“There are so many different kinds of knowledge that are relevant—the physics of the upper atmosphere, the chemistry of the ocean, the economics of carbon taxes, and the psychology of consumer decisions to drive,” Malone explains. “There are people who know about each of those, but nobody knows about all of them together. We want to use computer modeling to bring together all of those kinds of expertise in a single place.”

Physicists will set the model’s parameters for carbon concentrations in the upper atmosphere. Oceanographers will determine the ones for carbon absorption by the world’s seas. And economists will tinker with the ones that show how carbon taxes change consumer conduct.

More »