Equipping Decision-Makers for the Future
How to judge uncertainty before we adapt to climate impacts.
More crop failures could result from climate change and although potential adaptation measures do exist (e.g. drought/heat-tolerant crop varieties), policies and decisions on when, where and how to invest in them will be informed by climate predictions. But what if these predictions’ inherent uncertainty is underestimated – resulting in adaptation decisions that simply don’t address the reality of climate change as it unfolds? Helping avoid such wasteful scenarios, on topics from crop productivity to marine ecosystems and water resource management, is the aim of the LWEC-accredited EQUIP (End-to-end Quantification of Uncertainty for Impacts Prediction) project.
The initiative is bringing together climate, statistical and impact modelling experts from across the UK to give decision-makers, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, guidance in this key area.
“It’s crucial that government and industry don’t have a false precision about what the future might look like”, says project leader Professor Andy Challinor of the University of Leeds.
“Understanding the relative likelihood of each potential climate change outcome actually happening is often vital to identifying and implementing the right mix of adaptation measures.”
Close interaction with groups who will benefit from the results is a core feature of the initiative. Network Rail, the Consultation Group on International Agricultural Research and the insurance industry are amongst those who will help steer the focus of the work.
“We’re asking them exactly what they want out of the science,” explains Professor Challinor. “Insights into the real-world decisions they face will determine the questions this project asks.”