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Reasoning about climate uncertainty

TitleReasoning about climate uncertainty
Publication TypeManual Entry
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCurry, Judith
Climatic Change
Citation Key142
Community Notes

Curry highlights the difficulty in understanding climate uncertainty arises from the complexity of the systems at hand and makes the statement that reasoning about uncertainties is not simple or obvious.  She introduces several positions that other’s have expressed:  the IPCC consensus strategy underexposes uncertainties; matter that do not reach consensus receive little attention; there is a need to guard against overconfidence.  Curry emphasizes how key scientific questions are often left out of uncertainty analysis, which leaves a void of unknown uncertainties that can not be described.  Her concerns with the IPCC’s characterization of uncertainty include “lack of discrimination between statistical uncertainty and scenario uncertainty”, and “failure to meaningfully address the issue of ignorance”.  Ignorance is defined as total ignorance, recognized ignorance, reducible ignorance, and irreducible ignorance.