When two experts estimate the 100-year flood in a small ungauged catchment, chances are that their estimates are very different. When two groups predict the effects of future hydrological changes on stream flow and recharge for the same catchment, the results will hardly be consistent. Yet, climate change impact analyses have become a standard method in our tool box for addressing issues that seem to be of overwhelming concern to the society today. In this paper, we argue that impact studies often tend to be overly optimistic about the reliability of their predictions, and overly pessimistic about the effects on society. Just as a medical doctor who, when in doubt, would say that his patient is going to die—to be on the safe side. We will contrast this assessment with our views on the current state of change prediction, and outline the opportunities in this exciting field of hydrologic research.

Climate change impacts—throwing the dice?

MONTANARI, ALBERTO
2010

Abstract

When two experts estimate the 100-year flood in a small ungauged catchment, chances are that their estimates are very different. When two groups predict the effects of future hydrological changes on stream flow and recharge for the same catchment, the results will hardly be consistent. Yet, climate change impact analyses have become a standard method in our tool box for addressing issues that seem to be of overwhelming concern to the society today. In this paper, we argue that impact studies often tend to be overly optimistic about the reliability of their predictions, and overly pessimistic about the effects on society. Just as a medical doctor who, when in doubt, would say that his patient is going to die—to be on the safe side. We will contrast this assessment with our views on the current state of change prediction, and outline the opportunities in this exciting field of hydrologic research.
2010
Bloeschl G; Montanari A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/87140
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