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Mastering Deep Uncertainty at the Weather Service: Are there Lessons for Climate Change Advisers?

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Thursday, 16 February 2017, 4:30

Thursday, February 16, 2016. 4:30 PM. Mastering Deep Uncertainty at the Weather Service: Are there Lessons for Climate Change Advisers? Phaedra Daipha, Independent Scholar.. Sponsored by Climate Futures Initiative. More information here.

Despite the observational, professional, and institutional continuities between weather forecasting and climatology, it is overwhelmingly their differences that motivate comparisons between the two expert communities. Yet, along with efforts to establish linkages between predicting extreme weather and predicting climate change, it might well be time to focus more on drawing out similarities and parallels in how to overcome atmospheric indeterminacy. Indeed, what insights can climatologists gain from weather forecasters about decision making and communication in the face of deep uncertainty? Building on an ethnographic case study of forecasting operations at the U.S. National Weather Service, this talk seeks to accomplish two modest objectives. First, it offers a conceptual framework for the process of uncertainty management that, adopting a task-level approach, foregrounds the locally rational, sociomaterially embedded, and temporalized character of (expert) decision making in action. Second, it explores some possible lessons arising from the Weather Service case that might help climate scientists and advisers alleviate contextual barriers to climate change monitoring and mitigation.

Location  216 Aaron Burr Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ