Articles | Volume 30, issue 1
Brief communication
31 Jan 2023
Brief communication |  | 31 Jan 2023

Brief communication: Climate science as a social process – history, climatic determinism, Mertonian norms and post-normality

Hans von Storch

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Subject: Scaling, multifractals, turbulence, complex systems, self-organized criticality | Topic: Climate, atmosphere, ocean, hydrology, cryosphere, biosphere | Techniques: Theory
Stieltjes functions and spectral analysis in the physics of sea ice
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Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 30, 527–552,,, 2023
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Shaun Lovejoy
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Characteristics of intrinsic non-stationarity and its effect on eddy-covariance measurements of CO2 fluxes
Lei Liu, Yu Shi, and Fei Hu
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 29, 123–131,,, 2022
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How many modes are needed to predict climate bifurcations? Lessons from an experiment
Bérengère Dubrulle, François Daviaud, Davide Faranda, Louis Marié, and Brice Saint-Michel
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 29, 17–35,,, 2022
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Non-linear hydrologic organization
Allen Hunt, Boris Faybishenko, and Behzad Ghanbarian
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 28, 599–614,,, 2021
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Cited articles

Adolf, M. and Stehr, N.: Knowledge, Routledge Chapman & Hall, 2nd Edn., ISBN 9783958321458, 2016. a
Arrhenius, S.: On the influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the ground, Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 41, 237–276, 1896. a, b
Beck, S.: Zwischen Entpolitisierung von Politik und Politisierung von Wissenschaft: Die wissenschaftliche Stellvertreterdebatte um Klimapolitik, in: Politik im Klimawandel, edited by: Schüttemeyer, S., nomos, 238–258, ISBN 3-8329-4732-9, 2011. a
Boykoff, M. T. and Boykoff, J. M.: Climate change and journalistic norms: A case-study of US mass-media coverage, Geoforum, 38, 1190–1204,, 2007. a
Bray, D. and von Storch, H.: Climate Science: An Empirical Example of Postnormal Science, B. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 80, 439–456,<0439:CSAEEO>2.0.CO;2, 1999. a
Short summary
Climate science is, as all sciences, a social process and as such conditioned by the zeitgeist of the time. It has an old history and has attained different political significances. Today, it is the challenge of anthropogenic climate change – and societies want answers about how to deal with it. In earlier times, it was mostly the ideology of climate determinism which led people to construct superiority and eventually colonialism.