EMS Annual Meeting Abstracts
Vol. 20, EMS2023-306, 2023, updated on 24 Apr 2024
EMS Annual Meeting 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Co-produced storyline approaches for adaptive climate management and the role of discourse analysis.

Gerrit Bertus Versteeg
Gerrit Bertus Versteeg
  • Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)

Recent European Commission-funded projects Destination Earth and EERIE aim to provide state-of-the-art climate change projections with a strong emphasis on increasing spatial resolution and user interactivity, which is possible due to the significant advancements in high-performance computing. However, rather than just focusing on improvements in climate outputs following traditional modelling exercises, these projects also aim to communicate the potential consequences of climate change in a way that is relevant for particular regional and local decision-makers. In this regard, both projects will apply alternative approaches to represent uncertainty in the future climate, so-called physical climate storylines (PCS). Defined in Shepherd & Lloyd (2021) as ‘physically self-consistent unfoldings of past events, or of plausible future events or pathways’, PCS have many overlaps with the methodology behind surrogate climate change and the likelihood estimations of the IPCC’s extreme weather and climate events. This complementary approach to conventional risk assessment can be applied to simulate historic extreme events in a warmer climate to identify adaptation options (Destination Earth) and tipping points with associated consequences for the global and regional climate (EERIE).

The study aims to find usability gaps in the PCS approaches of Destination Earth and EERIE. Social science can play an important role in filling the gaps by analyzing the user’s discourse on scientific uncertainty and its implications for decision-making. Given that the PCS approach is advantageous on smaller scales with high uncertainty about future changes in climate variability, it should be receptive to an environment accentuated by value judgements and where perspectives, evidence, risk preferences and errors are continuously redefined. Discourse-analytical approaches can help uncover these aspects. Moreover, for adaptive decision-making using a bottom-up approach, climate change is just another factor to consider among a wide range of potentially competing issues and demands. Becoming part of an extensive risk assessment which includes many non-climatic components, implies that PCS should be tailored to the user’s socioeconomic setting, which explains system vulnerabilities, resilience and coping capacities towards the future climate based on conditional statements. Transparent and rigorous insights into creating and managing co-produced climate information are critical for PCS’s objective to fit the local decision context. Therefore, a storyline should include climate analysis anchored in physical knowledge, which can be translated into robust and actionable climate adaptation output. The two European projects will be evaluated on their uptake of PCS as a tool to guide adaptive decision-making. Especially an effort will be made to discover the advantages and limitations of applying PCS of future climates in a co-developmental way.

How to cite: Versteeg, G. B.: Co-produced storyline approaches for adaptive climate management and the role of discourse analysis., EMS Annual Meeting 2023, Bratislava, Slovakia, 4–8 Sep 2023, EMS2023-306, https://doi.org/10.5194/ems2023-306, 2023.