New post series: “Explain your Jargon” – Part 1: What is a climate model?

A video series of climate change jargon buster
by Shorouk Elkobros

Climate models, geoengineering, loss and damage – those are some of the confusing terminologies that you’ll stumble upon when reading about climate change and climate politics.

Communicating climate change is a challenge. Most science journalists face difficulty in writing about technical notions that are hard to grasp. In our series ‘Explain your jargon’, we aspire to decode difficult climate terminologies and to present them in an easy, interesting and relatable way. In our first episode we ask: What is a climate model?

In the video, I ask Bertrand and Mohammed to guess what a climate model is. We hear the answer from Prof. Dr. Jochem Marotzke, director and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. He explains that a model is a simplified representation of reality. For example, a city map is a model of a real city. It must include the essential attributes, such as street names, house numbers, etc. If you’re traveling by car, you need one-way traffic to be represented; however, you don’t need trees. Thus a good model includes the essential attributes for its required purpose.

“A good climate model represents the essential variables and attributes of climate.” – Prof. Dr. Jochem Marotzke