In recent decades, science has experienced a revolutionary shift. The development and extensive application of computer modelling and simulation has transformed the knowledge‐making practices of scientific fields as diverse as astro‐physics, genetics, robotics and demography. This epistemic transformation has brought with it a simultaneous heightening of political relevance and a renewal of international policy agendas, raising crucial questions about the nature and application of simulation knowledges throughout public policy.

Through a diverse range of case studies, spanning over a century of theoretical and practical developments in the atmospheric and environmental sciences, this book argues that computer modelling and simulation have substantially changed scientific and cultural practices and shaped the emergence of novel ‘cultures of prediction’.

Making an innovative, interdisciplinary contribution to understanding the impact of computer modelling on research practice, institutional configurations and broader cultures, this volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in the past, present and future of climate change and the environmental sciences.

chapter 1|17 pages


ByMatthias Heymann, Gabriele Gramelsberger, Martin Mahony

chapter 2|24 pages

Key characteristics of cultures of prediction

Edited ByMatthias Heymann, Gabriele Gramelsberger, Martin Mahony

part I|94 pages


chapter 3|23 pages

Calculating the weather

Emerging cultures of prediction in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe
ByGabriele Gramelsberger

chapter 5|15 pages

A new climate

Hubert H. Lamb and boundary work at the UK Meteorological Office
ByJanet Martin-Nielsen

chapter 6|20 pages

From heuristic to predictive

Making climate models into political instruments
ByMatthias Heymann, Nils Randlev Hundebøl

part II|115 pages

Challenges and debates

chapter 8|20 pages

The (re)emergence of regional climate

Mobile models, regional visions and the government of climate change
ByMartin Mahony

chapter 9|19 pages

Bellwether, exceptionalism, and other tropes

Political coproduction of Arctic climate modeling
ByNina Wormbs, Ralf Döscher, Annika E. Nilsson, Sverker Sörlin

chapter 10|17 pages

From predictive to instructive

Using models for geoengineering
ByJohann Feichter, Markus Quante

chapter 11|19 pages

Validating models in the face of uncertainty

Geotechnical engineering and dike vulnerability in the Netherlands
ByMatthijs Kouw

chapter 12|17 pages

Tracing uncertainty management through four IPCC Assessment Reports and beyond

ByCatharina Landström

chapter 13|21 pages

The future face of the Earth

The visual semantics of the future in the climate change imagery of the IPCC
ByBirgit Schneider