Two papers published in Science, from scientists from the Universities of Washington and Oxford, discuss the role of uncertainty in current understanding of climate change, and our future efforts to tackle it.
Professor Peter Cox, Met Office Chair in Climate System Dynamics, University of Exeter, said:
“These papers are very relevant to the current debate about climate change policy and the extent to which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should be reorganised to meet the new challenges.
“The Roe and Baker paper explains why there will always be a chance of very significant climate change in the long-term. It is vital that such inherent uncertainty in climate change predictions doesn’t stop humankind from dealing with the problem, and the Perspectives piece by Allen and Frame explains why it need not do so.
“A pilot flies an aircraft by constant monitoring of the external conditions and the direction of travel, and by tweaking the controls to keep the aircraft ion track. In the same way we must find ways to adaptively guide the climate system towards a safe landing, despite the inherent uncertainties.”