Using Specific Language to Describe Risk and Probability

Using Specific Language to Describe Risk and Probability Good assessment of environmental issues, such as climate change, requires effective communication of the degree of uncertainty associated with numerous possible outcomes. One strategy that accomplishes this, while responding to people's difficulty understanding numeric probability estimates, is the use of specific language to describe probability ranges. This is the strategy adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their Third Assessment Report. There is a problem with this strategy, however, in that it uses words differently from the way lay readers of the assessment typically do. An experiment conducted with undergraduate science students confirms this. The IPCC strategy could result in miscommunication, leading readers to under-estimate the probability of high-magnitude possible outcomes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Climatic Change Springer Journals

Using Specific Language to Describe Risk and Probability

Climatic Change, Volume 61 (2) – Oct 10, 2004

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Earth Sciences; Atmospheric Sciences; Climate Change/Climate Change Impacts
ISSN
0165-0009
eISSN
1573-1480
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1026314523443
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Good assessment of environmental issues, such as climate change, requires effective communication of the degree of uncertainty associated with numerous possible outcomes. One strategy that accomplishes this, while responding to people's difficulty understanding numeric probability estimates, is the use of specific language to describe probability ranges. This is the strategy adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their Third Assessment Report. There is a problem with this strategy, however, in that it uses words differently from the way lay readers of the assessment typically do. An experiment conducted with undergraduate science students confirms this. The IPCC strategy could result in miscommunication, leading readers to under-estimate the probability of high-magnitude possible outcomes.

Journal

Climatic ChangeSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 10, 2004

References

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