DISCUSSION: The above figure shows the amount of warming from 2012-2016. It was copied from a Capital Weather Gang article that explains the importance of putting climate projections in proper perspective. For example, presenting a worst-case climate projection is not very helpful without some sense of the likelihood of it occurring (i.e., the risk of that scenario). The points raised in that article really apply to any type of science communication. It is important to put scientific results in context and provide the level of uncertainty associated with those results. This is especially true when using science to inform policy decisions. Referring back to the climate example above, presenting the worst-case scenario to a policy maker without any context may lead that policy maker to develop policy based on a scenario that has virtually no chance of occurring, which is, obviously, unwise. The main point here is that science can be a valuable tool, but results of scientific studies must be placed in the proper perspective to get the best understanding and use of the science.
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©2017 Meteorologist Dr. Ken Leppert II