Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
18 August 2022

Metrics as tools for bridging climate science and applications



In climate science and applications, the term “metric” is used to describe the distillation of complex, multifaceted evaluations to summarize the overall quality of a model simulation, or other data product, and/or as a means to quantify some response to climate change. Metrics provide insights into the fidelity of processes and outcomes from climate models and can assist with both differentiating models' representation of variables or processes and informing whether models are “fit for purpose.” Metrics can also provide a valuable reference point for co-production of knowledge between climate scientists and climate impact practitioners. Although continued metric developments enable model developers to better understand the impacts of decisions made in the model design process, metrics also have implications for the characterization of uncertainty and facilitating analyses of underlying physical processes. As a result, comprehensive evaluation with multiple metrics enhances usability of climate information by both scientific and stakeholder communities. This paper presents examples of insights gained from the development and appropriate use of metrics, and provides examples of how metrics can be used to engage with stakeholders and inform decision-making. 

Reed, Kevin A., Naomi L Goldenson, Richard Grotjahn, William J. Gutowski, Kripa Jagannathan, Andrew D. Jones, L. Ruby Leung, et al. 2022. “Metrics As Tools For Bridging Climate Science And Applications”. Wires Climate Change. Wiley. doi:10.1002/wcc.799.
Funding Program Area(s)