models as fictions

In spite of its attractions for other sorts of physicists, realism seems to be an inappropriate way to conceive of climate physics: arguments regarding the truth content of our best models seem beside the point when one considers that the horizontal extent of every cloud in HadCM3 is some integer multiplied by its grid resolution 2.5×3.75°.

Rather than seeing models as describing literal truth, we ought to see them as convenient fictions which try to provide something useful. – Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University.

The Royal Society, Philosophical Transaction. August 2007 Volume: 365 Issue: 1857