Turning "Models" into "Meaningful" - so what's the story? — ASN Events

Turning "Models" into "Meaningful" - so what's the story? (7248)

Graeme Anderson 1 , Chris Sounness 1 , Dale Grey 1
  1. Farm Services, Dept Env & Primary Industries, Geelong, Vic, Australia

"All models are wrong....but some are useful!" is a one-liner I often hear in my travels in farming circles. While not wishing to offend those of us who regularly use and rely on models, this quote is a brutal reminder to us that in the eyes of many of our stakeholders there is a healthy scepticism for model outputs (and not just in the field of climate science). So, is there anything we can do to build trust in what the models are telling us?

"Rain ......Too little, Too much, and Everything in between!" is a short animation which attempts to summarise the story of our current state of knowledge on climate science and some of the underpinning messages that resonate from the efforts of climate scientists and modellers. Importantly the tale tries to capture the wider story, rather than just focus on the recent bits we've learned (which tends to be what science and media are most interested in discussing).

Building trust in model outputs can include approaches such as reminding the audience of the key building blocks of the model, how well the model has captured the reality of recent times, or via providing critical context for the audience so they can see how and where the model reflects core elements of their own observation or experience.

Through our journey in delivering climate and seasonal risk extension to farmers across Victoria (900 face to face sessions in past 5 years) we have gained many insights into what farmers have observed with their weather patterns, and which bits of the science that they find both interesting and important. When developing the ClimateDog animations, we witnessed the power of using a 60 second script as the basis for extracting critical knowledge from the heads of our leading climate scientists. This new animation is more a reflection of the story-telling approach that we have utilised to frame the latest climate snapshot for our Victorian rural audiences. 

In essence, our roles as climate science communicators is to help create a "Mindset for Adaptation", providing knowledge which allows our stakeholders to make improved decisions today, that will benefit them in future. In this session we share our attempt to convert what the science & models are are telling us into stories which resonate with our specific audience, on the things that matter to them.