2014: Climate Variability and Uncertainty

Led by Dargan Frierson, UW Atmospheric Sciences

The 2014 PCC Summer Institute focused on “Climate Variability and Uncertainty,” and featured talks by invited speakers Myles Allen (Oxford), Clara Deser (NCAR), and Grant Branstator (NCAR), as well as a host of UW researchers.

Myles Allen kicked off the workshop with a discussion of his WeatherAtHome work linking extreme events to climate change. Dennis Hartmann (Atmospheric Sciences) and Greg Johnson (PMEL) followed with talks on the global warming hiatus. The first evening concluded with a musical session, featuring climate-themed songs by Elizabeth Maroon (piano), Dennis Hartmann (bass), and Dargan Frierson (mandolin).

The next morning’s talks featured Grant Branstator speaking about uncertainty in decadal predictions resulting from imperfect knowledge of the initial state of the climate. Mike Wallace (Atmospheric Sciences) spoke about the challenge of detection and attribution in a climate system with large natural variability. Clara Deser’s presentation was about the natural variability present within NCAR’s large ensemble of model runs, and its influence on regional climate uncertainty. Myles Allen then gave a talk on mandatory carbon capture and storage as a potential solution to climate change.

Tuesday evening’s talks were on climate uncertainty and the social sciences. Susan Joslyn (Psychology) spoke on how people interpret uncertainty. Ann Bostrom (Public Affairs) told us how mindsets affect how people see climate change. This was followed by a sprited panel discussion featuring the two previous speakers, Mike Wallace, and Myles Allen.

Wednesday morning featured three talks by UW researchers, leading off with Gerard Roe (Earth and Space Sciences) on how uncertainty in regional feedbacks leads to uncertainty in local climate responses. Eric Salathé (Climate Impacts Group, JISAO and School of STEM at the University of Washington, Bothell) told us how “time of emergence” can be a useful measure when giving scientific information about adapting to climate change. Cecilia Bitz (Atmospheric Sciences) then presented a summary of factors leading to uncertainty in polar amplification. A discussion from Eric Salathé, Cecilia Bitz, and Clara Deser about the uncertainty questions we might be studying in 2024 concluded the meeting.

We thank all the speakers for their excellent talks, and the participants for lively questions and discussion throughout the meeting. See you at the SI in 2015!

Dargan Frierson, Atmospheric Sciences, convener of the 2014 PCC Summer Institute


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