Project (2012)

Circa. Circulations of Knowledge in the History of Climate Modeling

In this PhD thesis project Christoph Rosol investigated several historical moments and epistemological facets in the genealogy of so-called General Circulation Models (GCM). In order to put their representational inner workings into perspective, he embedd the history of observing, modeling, and predicting states and behavior of the general (planetary) circulation of the atmosphere into a broader context of theoretical, technological, and practical thinking. On a larger scale the thesis asked for a historiographical reflection of this very history, following the inspiration of Michel Serres' writings on a "meteorological epistemology."

During his stay at the Institute he worked on a chapter that focuses on the instrumented analysis of climate archives, specifically deep-sea sediment cores. He is interested in the operative role of such proxy data as a "natural" repository and "observational" linkage to constrain numerical experiments of certain deep-time climatic events. By discussing an exemplary simulation of a perceived pre-Quaternary analogue to current, in geohistoric terms quite abrupt climatic change (for experts: the PETM), he investigated the modes of (proxy) representation, time evolution, and non-linearity in modeling a climate history of Earth and in setting the scene for the "Anthropocene."