So what flavour is climate uncertainty?


The Earth’s climate under climate change is at best a system subject to deep uncertainty – we know some of the things that may happen, but we can’t ascribe probabilities to all the different possible outcomes. In this sense, predicting the climate is quite different to weather forecasting where our knowledge, at least for a prediction a day or two ahead, can be well expressed by probabilities. {Link to weather/climate page: probably on words ‘weather forecasting’}

Unfortunately we can’t try out the next hundred years lots of times to get a better idea of the probabilities. 🙁
But we can do that with models. 🙂
But models aren’t the same as reality 🙁
So that raises the question – when can we trust a model to give us reliable probabilities? What’s the basis for thnking something is true? What are our sources of knowledge?

In any case, we have to make a decision – and there is only one roll of the dice. That’s not like your usual game of chance where if you lose you can try again another day. We only get to play the game once.

But even with uncertainty, even with deep uncertainty, we know quite a lot to help us decide what to do.






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