AuthorsE. Løhre
TitleClimate change and uncertainty: Communication challenges
AfilliationSoftware Engineering
Publication TypeProceedings, non-refereed
Year of Publication2017
Conference NameConference on Environmental Psychology
Date Published11/2017
PublisherHøgskolen i Innlandet
Place PublishedLillehammer, Norway

According to the IPCC, it is as good as 100% certain that human activity is a main cause for increasing global temperatures. However, there still exists considerable uncertainty about many aspects of climate change, such as how much the temperature will increase, or how serious the consequences will be for different species of plants and animals. It is a key challenge for climate scientists to communicate this uncertainty in a clear way. In several studies, we show that lay people often do not understand “uncertainty” in the same way as scientists. For instance, while scientists use wide interval predictions (10-90 cm sea level rise) to be more certain that the prediction will be correct, lay people generally see such imprecise forecasts as indicating high uncertainty about what the outcome will be. We argue that understanding how people (mis)understand uncertainty is important for anyone involved in the communication of climate science.