Uncertainty

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The definitions below refer to Adaptation to Climate Change.

Definitions

European Definitions

CLIMATE-ADAPT

Uncertainty is an expression of the degree to which a value (e.g. the future state of the climate system) is unknown. [1]
Uncertainty can result from lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable. It may have many types of sources, from quantifiable errors in the data to ambiguously defined concepts or terminology, or uncertain projections of human behaviour. Uncertainty can therefore be represented by quantitative measures, for example, a range of values calculated by various models, or by qualitative statements, for example, reflecting the judgement of a team of experts.

RESIN project

The RESIN project [2] gives the following definition:

A state of incomplete knowledge that can result from a lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable. [3]


Other International Definitions

UN/IPCC

Uncertainty: An expression of the degree to which a value or relationship is unknown. [4]
Uncertainty can result from lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable. Uncertainty may originate from many sources, such as quantifiable errors in the data, ambiguously defined concepts or terminology, or uncertain projections of human behavior. Uncertainty can therefore be represented by quantitative measures, for example, a range of values calculated by various models, or by qualitative statements, for example, reflecting the judgment of a team of experts.

National Definitions

Denmark

Usikkerhed: Et udtryk for det omfang en værdi er ukendt som for eksempel den fremtidige tilstand af et klimasystem. [5]
Usikkerhed kan skyldes manglende information eller uenighed om, hvad det er muligt at vide. Usikkerhed kan have mange typer af kilder fra kvantitative fejl i data til tvetydigt definerede koncepter eller terminologi eller usikre fremskrivninger af menneskets udledning af drivhusgasser til atmosfæren. Usikkerhed kan derfor repræsenteres ved kvantitative mål for eksempel en værdi udregnet på baggrund af forskellige modeller eller ved kvalitative udsagn for eksempel refleksioner over ekspertudsagn.

Germany

Unsicherheit: Ein Ausdruck für das Ausmaß, in dem ein Wert ungewiss ist (z. B. der zukünftige Zustand des Klimasystems). [6]
Unsicherheit entsteht durch einen Mangel an Information oder durch Meinungsverschiedenheiten darüber, was bekannt ist oder überhaupt bekannt sein kann. Unsicherheit kann viele Quellen haben, von bezifferbaren Fehlern in Daten bis hin zu mehrdeutig formulierten Konzepten und Terminologien oder unsicheren Projektionen über menschliches Verhalten. Unsicherheit kann deshalb entweder quantitativ angegeben werden, z. B. durch eine Auswahl von berechneten Werten aus verschiedenen Modellen, oder durch qualitative Aussagen, die das Urteil eines Expertenteams wiedergeben.

Uncertainty can result from lack of information or from divergent opinions about what is or can be known. [7]

There may be many causes of uncertainty: faulty data, ambiguous concepts and terminology, or uncertainty about how people will behave. Uncertainty may be expressed in figures – for example where different climate models arrive at different forecasts about the rise in temperature. however, uncertainty may also be a qualitative statement by a team of experts.

Norway

Usikkerheten knyttet til analyseresultatene uttrykkes gjennom en vurdering av kunnskapsgrunnlaget de bygger på og resultatenes følsomhet for endringer i scenarioets forutsetninger og sentrale antagelser i analysene. [8]

Uncertainty related to the analysis results is expressed through an assessment of the knowledge base they are built upon, and the sensitivity of the results to changes in the prerequisites for the scenario and key assumptions in the analyses. [9]


Sweden

Uncertainty in the context of National Risk Assessment refers to the type of knowledge that exists about a particular event and how reliable this knowledge is as a basis for assessing the likelihood that the event will occur, as well as its impacts, should the event actually occur. Uncertainty may thus refer to the assessment of likelihood and/or the assessment of impacts. [10]


United Kingdom (UK)

Uncertainty ia situation where the current state of knowledge is such that (1) the order or nature of things is unknown, (2) the consequences, extent, or magnitude of circumstances, conditions, or events is unpredictable, and (3) credible probabilities to possible outcomes cannot be assigned. [11]


United States

DHS
Uncertainty is the degree to which a calculated, estimated, or observed value may deviate from the true value. [12]


Standard Definition

Discussion Topic

See also

Notes

  1. European Climate Adaptation Platform (CLIMATE-ADAPT) Glossary
  2. http://www.resin-cities.eu/
  3. Mach, K.J., S. Planton and C. von Stechow (eds.). Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Annex II: Glossary. [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 117-130.
  4. IPCC, 2012: Glossary of terms. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.). A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 555-564.]
  5. Klimatilpasning Ordliste)
  6. Deutsche Anpassungsstrategie an den Klimawandel, Bundeskabinett, 17. Dezember 2008
  7. Combating Climate Change: The German Adaptation Strategy
  8. DSB, National Risikobild 2014
  9. DSB, National Risk Analysis 2014
  10. Swedish National Risk Assessment 2012
  11. The National Adaptation Programme: Making the country resilient to a changing climate, UK Government (2013)
  12. DHS Risk Lexicon 2010 Edition, September 2010

References