The second model hierarchies workshop


The first Model Hierarchies Workshop, held in Princeton in November 2016, was framed around the question of exactitude in science. Borrowing from a parable by Borges, we asked how much precision and accuracy can be expected from Earth system models, and what aspects of a simulated Earth can be said to have explanatory power, and how models on a ladder of complexity and resolution -- a hierarchy -- can allow us to effectively extract meaning from systems with many degrees of freedom.

Since the time of that workshop, the modeling landscape has evolved considerably. On the one hand, we have started to speak of “digital twins” of the planet, its continents and its cities. On the other, we see a rapidly growing interest in models that serve as intermediaries between Earth system models and “users”, including those that downscale the predictions, translate them into human impacts, or substitute for them entirely (“emulators”). In between, we see the emergence of machine learning as a tool in modeling, further blurring the boundary between simulation and understanding.

The time is ripe therefore for a second Modeling Hierarchies workshop, to be held at Stanford in August-September 2022 (29 August - 1 September 2022). The questions and themes of the first workshop return, but reflecting the concerns of the day: is the traditional GCM still useful, or has it run its course? Are digital twins really twins? Where lies the boundary between simulation and emulation? What does it mean for machine learning to be “inspired” or “guided” by physics? What role does a hierarchy of models play in our field?

The workshop will be held as a 3.5-day in-person (covid permitting) workshop at Stanford, with limited remote attendance possible. As last time, we solicit talks on the design and use of modeling hierarchies in all aspects of Earth system science, covering the major climate system components -- atmosphere, ocean, land, cryosphere, biosphere -- but this time also underline our interest in exploring the ways in which such models are connected to the downstream uses of this data in the study of climate impacts.

As last time, the workshop will be structured around talks in a single-session format, perhaps interspersed with poster sessions during the recesses. There will be plenty of time in between sessions for collaborative and social discussion. All meals and refreshments will be provided at the meeting venue, to facilitate interaction.




The updated programme is available

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Registration for the workshop is open.

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  • Deadline for registration: 31 July 2022




  • 1 February 2022: Call for abstracts and financial support application
  • 8  Februrary 2022 : Opening of registration
  • 30 April 2022: Deadline for abstracts submission and for financial support application Extended to 15 May, 2022
  • Week of 13th June 2022: Notification to applicant 
  • 08 July 2022: Preliminary programme, delayed to mid-July
  • 31 July 2022: Deadline for registration
  • 29 August - 1 September 2022: Model Hierarchies Workshop

The Venue



Stanford University
MacKenzie room at Huang Engineering Center
475 Via Ortega,
Stanford, CA - USA

How to get to the Venue?

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