Expert judgement and uncertainty quantification for climate change

Michael Oppenheimer, Christopher M. Little, Roger M. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Expert judgement is an unavoidable element of the process-based numerical models used for climate change projections, and the statistical approaches used to characterize uncertainty across model ensembles. Here, we highlight the need for formalized approaches to unifying numerical modelling with expert judgement in order to facilitate characterization of uncertainty in a reproducible, consistent and transparent fashion. As an example, we use probabilistic inversion, a well-established technique used in many other applications outside of climate change, to fuse two recent analyses of twenty-first century Antarctic ice loss. Probabilistic inversion is but one of many possible approaches to formalizing the role of expert judgement, and the Antarctic ice sheet is only one possible climate-related application. We recommend indicators or signposts that characterize successful science-based uncertainty quantification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-451
Number of pages7
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 27 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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