Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making”

Committee to Review the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” Committee to Review the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2 Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under NSF grant number ATM-0455946. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF, of NOAA, or any of its sub agencies. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10570-5 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10570-6 Copies of this report are available from the program office: Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 (202) 334-3512 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM’S SYNTHESIS AND ASSESSMENT PRODUCT 5.2 CAROL ANNE CLAYSON (Chair), Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida TOM BUSCHATZKE, City of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona RADFORD BYERLY, JR., University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado HEIDI CULLEN, The Weather Channel, Atlanta, Georgia ANN-MARGARET ESNARD, Florida Atlantic University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida ROGER E. KASPERSON, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts ELIZABETH L. MALONE, Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park, Maryland FRANKLIN W. NUTTER, Reinsurance Association of America, Washington, DC JENNIFER PHILLIPS, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York HENRY N. POLLACK, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER, Stanford University, Stanford, California ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate CURTIS H. MARSHALL, Study Director KATHERINE WELLER, Senior Program Assistant

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE F. SHERWOOD ROWLAND (Chair), University of California, Irvine M. JOAN ALEXANDER, NorthWest Research Associates, Boulder, Colorado MICHAEL L. BENDER, Princeton University, New Jersey ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor CAROL ANNE CLAYSON, Florida State University, Tallahassee WALTER F. DABBERDT, Vaisala Inc., Boulder, Colorado KERRY A. EMANUEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge DENNIS L. HARTMANN, University of Washington, Seattle PETER R. LEAVITT, Weather Information, Inc., Newton, Massachusetts VERNON R. MORRIS, Howard University, Washington, D.C. THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR, Colorado State University/CIRA, Fort Collins Ex Officio Members ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland, College Park NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director AMANDA STAUDT, Senior Program Officer IAN KRAUCUNAS, Program Officer CURTIS H. MARSHALL, Program Officer CLAUDIA MENGELT, Program Officer ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Research Associate LEAH PROBST, Research Associate ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant KATHERINE WELLER, Senior Program Assistant DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Coordinator ANDREAS SOHRE, Financial Associate

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Joe Arvai, Michigan State University, East Lansing Christopher Costello, University of California, Santa Barbara Judith A. Curry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Linda O. Mearns, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado William Randel, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Claudia Tebaldi, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Mort Webster, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Eric J. Barron, University of Texas, Austin. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2, “Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making” Contents     SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   3 2   MAJOR OVERARCHING COMMENTS   7 3   ADDITIONAL OVERARCHING COMMENTS   11 4   REVIEW OF INDIVIDUAL CHAPTERS   13      Chapter 1      13      Chapter 2      14      Chapter 3      14      Chapter 4      16      Chapter 5      17      Chapter 6      18      Chapter 7      19      Chapter 8      20     REFERENCES   23     APPENDIXES   25      A  CCSP SYNTHESIS AND ASSESSMENT PRODUCTS   27      B  PROSPECTUS FOR SYNTHESIS AND ASSESSMENT PRODUCT 5.2   33      C  BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND STAFF   47      D  NRC COMMITTEE STATEMENT OF TASK   53

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