Idealization of scales of motion in atmospheric dynamics

March 14, 2014
Marina Baldissera Pacchetti
Abstract: I discuss the use of idealizations as descriptions in climate science, especially in dynamical models of stable systems in the atmosphere. I contrast two accounts of idealizations. The first account is one in which idealizations are departures from the target system that can be dispensed of for obtaining a more accurate description of said system.  According to the second account, idealizations are ineliminable. I use various examples from atmospheric dynamics to argue that qualitative organizational features of various atmospheric systems can only be described in terms of ineliminable idealizations.

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