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Communicating projection uncertainty and ambiguity in sea-level assessment
  • +14
  • Robert Kopp,
  • Michael Oppenheimer,
  • Jessica L O'Reilly,
  • Sybren S Drijfhout,
  • Tamsin L Edwards,
  • Baylor Fox-Kemper,
  • Gregory G Garner,
  • Nicholas R Golledge,
  • Tim H J Hermans,
  • Helene T Hewitt,
  • Benjamin P Horton,
  • Gerhard Krinner,
  • Dirk Notz,
  • Sophie Nowicki,
  • Matthew D Palmer,
  • Aimée B A Slangen,
  • Cunde Xiao
Robert Kopp
Rutgers University

Corresponding Author:bobkopp@gmail.com

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Michael Oppenheimer
Princeton University
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Jessica L O'Reilly
Indiana University Bloomington
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Sybren S Drijfhout
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
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Tamsin L Edwards
King’s College London
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Baylor Fox-Kemper
Brown University
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Gregory G Garner
Gro Intelligence
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Nicholas R Golledge
Victoria University of Wellington
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Tim H J Hermans
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
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Helene T Hewitt
Met Office
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Benjamin P Horton
Nanyang Technological University
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Gerhard Krinner
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Dirk Notz
Universität Hamburg
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Sophie Nowicki
University at Buffalo
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Matthew D Palmer
Met Office
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Aimée B A Slangen
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
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Cunde Xiao
Beijing Normal University
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Projections of future sea-level change are characterized by both quantifiable uncertainty and by ambiguity. Both types of uncertainty are relevant to users of sea-level projections, particularly those making long-term investment and planning decisions with multigenerational consequences. Communicating information about both types is thus a central challenge faced by scientists who generate sea-level projections to support decision-making. Diverse approaches to communicating uncertainty in future sea-level projections have been taken over the last several decades, but the literature evaluating these approaches is limited and not systematic. Here, we review how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has approached uncertainty in sealevel projections in past assessment cycles and how this information has been interpreted by national and subnational assessments, as well as alternative approaches used by recent US subnational assessments. The evidence reviewed here generally supports the explicit approach to communicating both types of uncertainty adopted by the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).
Jul 2023Published in Nature Climate Change volume 13 issue 7 on pages 648-660. 10.1038/s41558-023-01691-8