Mankind's emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are warming the planet. This in turn will change the local climate we experience all around the globe. In the globalised society we live in we will feel the consequences not only as a result of local changes but also as a result of impacts in distant places.
Thus we can confidently know that climate change poses a significant threat to our society; to the way we live. But what about the details? What does this actually mean for you or me, here? Providing such details is a forecasting problem unlike any other. In most forecasting situations we have a way of testing the reliability of our forecasts; we make a forecast, or a collection of forecasts, and see if they were right. If they weren't we would go away and change our forecasting system. But for climate change there is no way of making such statistical checks. So scientists rely on understanding, some of which is encapsulated in extremely complicated computer models. Working out how we use the output of such models and how we evaluate, communicate and respond to different types of uncertainty is the subject of this exhibit.
The material below explores some of these aspects of the underlying science and important questions about climate change in more detail.
Uncertainty comes in different flavours - few imply we have no knowledge at all. The interactive games on these pages deal with two important flavours of uncertainty; probability and ambiguity.
Find out more about the different flavours of uncertainty involved in climate science and how we can gain confidence about what might happen in the future from our physical understanding and from computer models design to simulate the Earth.Click here to download PDF
Predictions about the future climate can be based on our theoretical understanding of the climate system or on observations of its past behaviour - or both.
Find out how we can combine our knowledge from different sources to make useful predictions about the future climate.Click here to download PDF
When you make a decision about the future it is a sort of gamble. You can never know absolutely what will happen. This is also true when we make decisions about climate change.
Find out how, despite some uncertainty about the future climate, decisions can still be made to increase our chances of a better outcome for the future.Click here to download PDF
The actions of humanity are inducing climate change - what can we do about it?
Climate change will have many consequences - how will we cope with them?
Find out how a multidisciplinary approach is needed to tackle climate change by mitigating against its effects and by adapting to our future conditions.Click here to download PDF