Both climate scientists and philosophers of science have been working hard to understand how the huge multidimensional global climate models can be tested, evaluated, and confirmed. The convergence of multiple climate models on a single outcome or result has provided a key feature in these discussions, as has their common use of empirically verified assumptions about various forces on climate variables in the models.
But philosophers of science tend to think that such convergence, or “robustness,” is not confirmatory, because the models could converge and still all be wrong. Climate scientists, on the other hand, do tend to see the convergence of climate models on a result as confirmatory. I will discuss and defend the climate scientists’ position on these models and their elements from a pragmatic and empirical point of view, while differentiating their style of robustness, which I call “model robustness,” from others considered by philosophers. My hope is that this will leave you with a better understanding of how the detailed parts of climate models are developed, evaluated, and confirmed in climate science.