The Community Integrated Assessment System, CIAS, and its user interface CLIMASCOPE
Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute
Successful communication of knowledge to climate change policy makers requires the careful integration of scientific knowledge in an integrated assessment that can be clearly communicated to stakeholders, and which encapsulates the uncertainties in the analysis and conveys the need for using a risk assessment approach. It is important that (i) the system is co-designed with the users (ii) relevant disciplines are included (iii) assumptions made are clear (iv) the robustness of outputs to uncertainties is demonstrated (v) the system is flexible so that it can keep up with changing stakeholder needs and (vi) the results are communicated clearly and are readily accessible. The "Community Integrated Assessment System" (CIAS) is a unique multi-institutional, modular, and flexible integrated assessment system for modeling climate change which fulfils the above criteria. It differs from other integrated models in being flexible, allowing various combinations of component modules, to be connected together into alternative integrated assessment models. Modules may be written at different institutions in different computer languages and/or based on different operating systems. Scientists are able determine which particular CIAS coupled model they wish to use through a web portal. This includes the facility to implement Latin hypercube experimental design facilitating formal uncertainty analysis. Further exploration of robustness is possible through the ability to select, for example, alternative climate models to address the same questions. It has been applied to study climate change mitigation, through for example the AVOIDing dangerous climate change project for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in which the avoided impacts (benefits) of alternative climate policies were compared to no-policy baselines. AVOID is a DECC funded initiative which allows fine tuning of research tools and outputs for the use of policy makers. A second web portal, CLIMASCOPE, is being developed to allow a wide range of users free access to regional climate change projections and encourage risk assessment through encapsulation of uncertainties. We have begun discussions on appropriate design and use of this tool with stakeholders located in Mexico and Madagascar. Both the AVOID and CLIMASCOPE discussions provide fora in which we can come to better understand stakeholder needs, and use this knowledge to guide the evolving design of CIAS.