Scientific Assessment Presents Best Practices for Characterizing, Communicating and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making

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The U.S. Climate Change Science Program has issued its final assessment product presenting a summary of methods and strategies to characterize, analyze, and deal with uncertainty as it relates to climate change and its effects.

The report is written to serve the needs of climate scientists, experts assessing the likely impacts and consequences of climate change, as well as technical staff supporting policy makers. The report explores the sources and types of uncertainty, the importance of correctly quantifying those issues, the ability to make decisions in an uncertain environment and how to effectively communicate this information to the public.

"While there is considerable uncertainty associated with climate change and its effects, there are good tools and methods available to address and deal with it, and to make decisions today. We routinely make important decisions in our public and private life in the face of comparable or even greater levels of uncertainty," said M. Granger Morgan from Carnegie Mellon University and lead author of the report.

This report is one of the 21 Synthesis and Assessment Products commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program as part of an interagency effort to integrate federal research on climate change and to facilitate a national understanding of the critical elements of climate change.

The full Climate Change Science Program report, Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making, is available online (PDF).

NOAA plays a key role in the Climate Change Science Program, which is responsible for coordinating and integrating climate research, observations, decision support, and communications of 13 federal departments and agencies.


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