February 13th, 2012
At the recent EQUIP Annual Conference, we discussed input to the IPCC process and our forthcoming special issue of Climatic Change. Speakers at the conference included Tiago Capela Lourenço, Project Co-ordinator - Circle 2 (http://www.circle-era.eu/np4/home.html), Emma Visman, Futures Group Manager of the Humanitarian Futures Programme (http://www.humanitarianfutures.org/) and Rowan Sutton, Climate Director of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading (http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/users/users/263)
August 23rd, 2011
Two articles in nature journals highlighting the value of robust treatments of uncertainty:
Global studies using crop-climate models are becoming increasingly common. How should such studies deal with uncertainty? Here, an EQUIP scientist argues that a focus on fundamental bio-physical processes is needed. http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v1/n2/full/nclimate1098.html
Following an interdisciplinary workshop on climate extremes that brought together climate scientists, statisticians and ecologists, this article was written to give a brief overview of what we already know of environmental extremes and the challenges we face in attempting to study the response of extremes to a changing climate. We have emphasised the importance of studying extremes as extreme climatic events can cause widespread damage and have been projected to become more frequent as the world warms. However, it is still not always clear which extremes have the largest impact, and how and why they are changing. http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n3/abs/ngeo1090.html
June 20th, 2011
Planet Earth article on EQUIP published Spring 2011
March 14th, 2011
The first EQUIP publication assessed uncertainty in both climate and crop response in order to quantify the impact of future droughts and heatwaves on crops. The study showed that large-scale crop failures of the kind that caused the Russian wheat crises of 2010 are likely to become more common. Results also demonstrated that the worst effects of these events on agriculture could be mitigated by adapting the varieties of crops grown, as well as through policy measures that support other forms of adaptation. The paper, which is freely available at
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034012/ , was widely reported in the media and led to interviews on local and national radio.
January 31st, 2011
The first EQUIP conference was held at the Mint Hotel, Leeds on the 19th – 21st Jan. It showcased our work and provided opportunities for feedback and involvement in the project. Speakers both internal and external to EQUIP presented key topics, such as methodologies for quantifying uncertainty, assessing the information content of ensembles and evaluating predictions. Stakeholder-led approaches were presented, along with analyses of our key impacts case studies: droughts, heatwaves, crop production and marine ecosystems. Conference Programme Jan 2011
August 6th, 2010
Five members of the EQUIP team will contribute to the fifth assessment of the IPCC, as authors of chapters in Working Groups 1 and 2. Topics covered include Long-term Climate Change: Projections, Commitments and Irreversibility; Detection and Attribution of Climate Change; Climate Phenomena and their Relevance for Future Regional Climate Change; Food Production Systems and Food Security; and Foundations for Decision-making.
April 27th, 2010
At our first user meeting on the 27th and 28th of April, we discussed with the public, private and charity sectors how to orient EQUIP towards improved use of climate information.
This meeting identified active collaborators/users for EQUIP and ensured that the EQUIP research agenda is appropriate for informing the decision making of interested users. Through conversation with invited users from the public, private and charity sectors, we will orient EQUIP towards improved use of climate information for specific cases.
The workshop included user perspectives on climate information, presentation of the EQUIP consortium and discussion to identify mechanisms through which EQUIP can best work together with users to aid decision-making.
The workshop highlighted the following issues:
Treatments of uncertainty can help or hinder decision-making. The cascade of uncertainty at some point needs to be condensed into a form that can affect a decision; “yields will fall by -100 to +234%” is not a helpful statement. Policymakers need consensus, not disagreement. The choice of language is important: uncertainty vs robustness vs risk. Informative presentation of uncertainty is important.
A useful uncertainty-focussed question might be: “what are the sources of uncertainty in climate information, and what are their relative magnitudes?” This is answered elsewhere, e.g. UKCP09 science report; but is there a role for this sort of uncertainty-based analysis within EQUIP-user collaborations?
The multiplicity of sources of climate information causes problems. Are they all to be treated as equally plausible? If not, why believe one set of climate outputs over another? The answer currently usually comes through what is readily available, i.e. finding experts and trusting them. However, perhaps one model / treatment is better than other for a particular decision. Certainly no one model is ‘reality inside a computer.’
Engaging with users, and understanding their decisions making processes, is crucial to the success of EQUIP. The sector/decision specificity of the analyses needed, the inherent uncertainty, and the multiplicity of sources of climate information mean that only sustained and informed engagement with users are likely to improve the utility of climate information.