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Scientific Uncertainties in Climate Change Detection and Attribution Studies (Invited)

Presentation Date
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 5:00pm
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - 278-279



It has been claimed that the treatment and discussion of key uncertainties in climate science is “confined to hushed sidebar conversations at scientific conferences”. This claim is demonstrably incorrect. Climate change detection and attribution studies routinely consider key uncertainties in observational climate data, as well as uncertainties in model-based estimates of natural variability and the “fingerprints” in response to different external forcings. The goal is to determine whether such uncertainties preclude robust identification of a human-caused climate change fingerprint. It is also routine to investigate the impact of applying different fingerprint identification strategies, and to assess how detection and attribution results are impacted by differences in the ability of current models to capture important aspects of present-day climate. The exploration of the uncertainties mentioned above will be illustrated using examples from detection and attribution studies with atmospheric temperature and moisture.

Funding Program Area(s)