ACDI Seminar Series: “One graph, multiple interpretations: how (not) to visualise climate information”
ACDI ADAPTATION SEMINAR SERIES
Join us for a lunch-time, weekly seminar series where we will hear from and engage with various academics and practitioners working in the climate change adaptation space.
Where: Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Studio 5, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town.
When: Wednesday, 12 March 2014 from 13h00-14h00.
“One graph, multiple interpretations: how (not) to visualise climate information”
Joseph Daron (Climate Systems Analysis Group)
One of the primary ways of communicating scientific data and research findings is through the use of graphical visualisations. In relation to climate change research and practice, the appropriate development and use of graphical visualisations is fundamental to the successful provision of climate services to support climate change adaptation decisions. Yet despite the recent growth of climate services, and the increasing dissemination of climate data through online platforms, there remains limited empirical evidence to help climate information providers determine how best to communicate and present climate data.
In this talk, I will present the results of an online survey designed to investigate the interpretation of climate information as a function of the style and information content of graphical visualisations. The survey was targeted at the African climate impacts and adaptation user community, and made use of the contact information provided by users of the Climate Information Platform (CIP), hosted by CSAG. The survey was completed by 272 people from across the world and represents a diverse community of scientists, practitioners and policy makers.
Our results show that seemingly arbitrary choices can lead to significant impacts on the interpretation of climate information. In addition, using different visualisations alters the way some respondents perceive and trust the underlying information. I will also present evidence that respondents who interpret higher magnitudes of future climate change are more likely to express greater confidence in their interpretations. The results imply that a naïve approach to visualizing climate information risks misinterpretation with the potential to misdirect climate change adaptation and policy decisions..
Joseph departed the UK and arrived in Cape Town about 18 months ago to work as a postdoc in the Climate System Analysis Group at UCT. He studied meteorology at the University of Reading in the UK and spent a further year at the University of Oklahoma in the US where he became increasingly interested in the climate science-policy interface. After a brief period as an intern for an ethical investment company in London he began a PhD, sponsored by Lloyd's of London, investigating the use of climate model information by the insurance industry. Joseph began his PhD at the University of Exeter in 2007 but moved to the London School of Economics in 2009 to join his supervisor David Stainforth. During this time, he spent six months working in the Climate Impacts Team at the UK Met Office. In his current role, Joseph is exploring methods and approaches to communicate climate information to the user community and has a particular interest in the interpretation of climate change uncertainties in developing country adaptation decisions.
Who to expect next :
19 March: Richard Sherman (CDKN) “The Green Climate Fund: Designing a transformational approach to the delivery and financing of climate action.”
*Bring your lunch along, refreshments will be provided