, Volume 108, Issue 4, pp 629-639,
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Date: 13 Aug 2011

Evaluation, characterization, and communication of uncertainty by the intergovernmental panel on climate change—an introductory essay

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Introduction

Since its inception in 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has worked with the growing recognition that uncertainty is pervasive in our understanding of the climate system: what drives climate change, what will determine its future course, and what influence it will have on important social and ecological aspects of our world. It is not news that the IPCC has struggled, with varying degrees of success, in its efforts to describe these uncertainties and to judge the confidence with which it can offer its major conclusions. Richard Moss and Stephen Schneider (Moss and Schneider 2000) were the lead authors of IPCC’s first attempt to provide some guidance for authors in this regard, during the preparation of the Third Assessment Report (the TAR). A second guidance document was created by an author team headed by Martin Manning and Rob Swart (Manning et al. 2004) after an expert meeting to support the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), and yet another version ...