Climatization of environmental degradation: a widespread challenge to the integrity of earth science

Michael L. Wine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To guide scientists and society regarding the hydrologic consequences of anthropogenic climate change, earth scientists increasingly develop qualitative predictions and quantitative ensembles of models, some of which have important economic or (geo)political implications. However, with unprecedented human population, environmental degradation, and water scarcity, climatic factors are increasingly invoked falsely to explain failures of environmental governance, a phenomenon termed climatization. We propose a first typology of climatization in hydrology. Scientific climatization occurs when–during the normal course of a scientific investigation–a hydrologic state is falsely attributed to climatic factors, often due to a conceptual model that excludes human impacts or a simplified methodology that fails to quantify uncertainty. In contrast, securitization-aligned climatization occurs when a securitizing state actor requires that scientists attribute observed hydrologic states to climatic factors. Maintaining the credibility of earth science requires that earth scientists vigorously contest both scientific climatization and securitization of global change hydrology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-883
Number of pages17
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 25 Apr 2020


  • Anthropocene
  • climate change
  • global change
  • hydrological processes
  • securitization
  • strong inference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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