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Developing Simple Communication Strategies for Complex Climate Concepts
  • Rachel Steratore
Rachel Steratore
RAND Corporation

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Recent years have witnessed devastating weather extremes, so it is no surprise that people have started wondering, “what’s up with the weather?” The potential role of climate change in making these extremes worse has gained traction not only in the scientific community but in public discourse a well. While scientists have made considerable progress on statistical “climate attribution”—a way of assessing the probability that climate change is influencing the character of some extreme weather events—public understanding has not kept pace. However, members of society do not need to know everything about climate and its related changes to make decisions. Rather, building climate literacy across society is paramount to better inform those decisions. There are many facets of climate literacy and many ways to help society become comfortable with the concepts. While riddled with challenges, one way of explaining the statistical methods around climate attribution is through carefully designed spinner boards. This is just one demonstration of how to explain a difficult subject, and if properly developed and used, this method holds the potential to significantly improve climate literacy.