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Effectively Communicating Antarctic Climate Change Science E.Griffin 1, M. Sparrow 1, R. Badhe 1 1 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Scott Polar.

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Presentation on theme: "Effectively Communicating Antarctic Climate Change Science E.Griffin 1, M. Sparrow 1, R. Badhe 1 1 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Scott Polar."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effectively Communicating Antarctic Climate Change Science E.Griffin 1, M. Sparrow 1, R. Badhe 1 1 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom The challenges: In many cases the science being communicated by SCAR is complex and includes significant uncertainties. For many there is a weariness when confronted with further accounts of climate change and its implications. There is also a feeling that there is no significant information deficit around the subject and so widespread exposure in the media may be harder to gain in the future. Advantages of the unique role of SCAR : Comprehensive – The range of SCAR science gives a complete overview of climate issues as shown in the ACCE report. Consensus – SCAR publishes reports that represent the scientific consensus in climate areas and as such have greater impact than individual studies. Consistent – The picture of climate change being pieced together by Antarctic scientists emphasises the impact of, in many cases, unprecedented changes on the current ecosystem. As a facilitator of science SCAR can fulfil a central role for scientists who may have a limited range of media facilities available at their home institutions. The Antarctic plays a crucial role in the science of climate change from Ice cores (above, left) telling us about the deep history of climate to the present day impacts such as changing penguin populations (above, right). In 2009 SCAR published the Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment report. An executive summary emphasised the key points being addressed by current research. SCAR has published annual updates in 2010 and 2011 and in A full update of the executive summary is in preparation. A full colour pdf of the original report is available at: www/scar/org/publications/occasionals/ac ce.html SCAR Climate Change Communications Plan: SCAR is preparing a communications plan to address effectively communicating Antarctic climate change science. This plan will implement some of the recommendations of SCAR Strategic plan Key actions Publicise the 2012 SCAR ACCE Executive Summary update using media templates that may be re-used for future reports. Evaluate feedback from the Executive Summary update to improve differentiation to target audiences. Establish and implement a Social Media policy to complement existing communications. The communication of climate science can be a challenge. Climate science is often highly technical and needs to be simplified without losing the key messages. Demonstrating relevance or newsworthiness to key audiences is also difficult. When addressing both the general public and key government decision makers, communicators need to be able to tell them as simply as possible, what it means for their day-to-day life now and in the future. A particular issue for climate science is the notion of uncertainty, specifically the difference between its usage in scientific discussions and reports compared to that used in public and media discussions. One way to address this may be to focus on the notion of consensus amongst independent scientists on particular issues. Both the Antarctic Treaty Parties and SCAR have recognised the importance of communicating climate science, in particular after the publication of SCAR's Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment (ACCE) report (http://www.scar.org/publications/occasionals/acce.html) CONCLUSIONS : The long term nature of the impacts of climate change and the need for similar longevity in the science that studies these changes emphasises the need for ongoing effective communications. Both funding for the science and the recruitment of the next generation of Antarctic climate scientists are critically dependent on this. As new modes of communication become available, such as social media, a flexible approach to the use of media needs to be developed. Reviewing the use and effectiveness of each is important when resources are limited. Maintaining the impact and enthusiasm of scientists themselves is vital to the long term sustainability of climate change science and communications need to address the persistence of engagement between scientists and the public. SCAR, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, is a committee of ICSU, the International Council for Science, and it is charged with the initiation, promotion and co-ordination of scientific research in Antarctica. SCAR also provides international, independent scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty system and other bodies. Courtesy, British Antarctic Survey Creative use of new media options can provide the direct link from key audiences to scientists working in the field e.g. the APECS Frostbytes initiative at this conference! SCAR aims to use media and technology to link the science and scientists to a wider audience. ABSTRACT Contact:


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