ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS WITH UNCERTAINTY

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ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS WITH UNCERTAINTY . Hazel Faulkner & Simon McCarthy. ?. FHRC research for FRMRC1/2 INTERVIEWS with Environment Agency professionals Insurers Floodplain planners How can FRM optimise risk and uncertainty communications at the professional interface? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS WITH UNCERTAINTY

Slide 1

ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS WITH UNCERTAINTY

Hazel Faulkner & Simon McCarthy

?Funders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.ukThis presentation will focus on the challenges of engaging stakeholders with these estimates of uncertainty

Models, as Meghan said and we have seen are sophisticated and their uncertainty can be articulated. But meghan asked, at the professional intreface, what are we losing in translation? One answer could be, the uncertainty embedded in the tool is lost. Our experience has been that professionals do not welcome uncertain tools and prediction.

So Ill briefly introduce this topic, scoping out the barriers to successful communication of uncertainty,. and highlighting some key findings from FRMRC research where we tried to translate uncertainty tools using a discourse approach.

1FHRC research for FRMRC1/2INTERVIEWS withEnvironment Agency professionalsInsurersFloodplain planners

How can FRM optimise risk and uncertainty communications at the professional interface?

Why the reluctance to use uncertainty tools ....barriers?

Funders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.ukBARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION OF UNCERTAINTYBARRIERS?Funders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk Stakeholders in information pathwaysAs webs of influence vary, agendas vary, information needs vary, risk communication strategies & appropriate tools will be totally differentMANY SCIENTIFIC ,PROFESSIONAL AND LAY STAKEHOLDERSstakeholders at sources of informationscienceprofessionalsInformation receptors, category Ifloodplain stakeholdersInformation receptors, Category IIstakeholders outside floodplainBARRIERS?Funders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk and differing risk and uncertainty communication tools will match each professional challenge.

We argue that tools are not ideally aligned on this map face. In part this is a semiotic problem, because differing groups of professionals and scientists use such terms as risk and uncertainty in differing ways.

In summary, Figure 1 underlines our argument that translating complex and uncertain science into a set of different conceptualizations of risk for purposes of communicating with stakeholders is a considerable additional challenge for FRM professionals.

4The implication of this is that scientific uncertainty is an relatively unwelcome part of the risk message they are charged with translating for the public

PROFESSIONALS experience BINARY DECISION UNCERTAINTY (Decision rule uncertainty)BARRIERS?SCIENTIFIC UNCERTAINTYUncertainty in the science of flood forecasting and runoff prediction models are largely associated with their assumptions, structure, and boundary conditions, and confidence in validation procedures given uncertainties about climatic and societal futuresSCIENTIFIC AND DECISION MAKERS DIFFER IN THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SOURCES OF UNCERTAINTYFunders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.ukTHE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE IS OPAQUE TO THE NON-SCIENTIFIC PROFESSIONALBARRIERS?If originally formulated in Bayesian terms, the language may be too opaque for translation to be effective do professionals have sufficient statistical familiarity? Bayesian statistics ? Prior probability distributions? fuzzy set methods ? info-gap methods ? NUSAP? match tool to communication interface

The implication of this is that the language used to communicate the uncertainty must match the needs and agenda of the agencies involved in the communication being undertakenFunders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk Stakeholders in information pathwaysBayesian uncertainty tools GLUEstakeholder consultation traffic lightswebpages/leafletsRt = H x V1;100/1;1000 fuzzy edgedPhone warningsNewspaper/TV/twitterLANGUAGE AND TOOLS TO DESCRIBE UNCERTAINTY VARYstakeholders at sources of informationscienceprofessionalsInformation receptors, category Ifloodplain stakeholdersInformation receptors, Category IIstakeholders outside floodplainTHE WAY FORWARD: TRANSLATIONAL DISCOURSES?Funders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk and differing risk and uncertainty communication tools will match each professional challenge.

We argue that tools are not ideally aligned on this map face. In part this is a semiotic problem, because differing groups of professionals and scientists use such terms as risk and uncertainty in differing ways.

In summary, Figure 1 underlines our argument that translating complex and uncertain science into a set of different conceptualizations of risk for purposes of communicating with stakeholders is a considerable additional challenge for FRM professionals.

7Our research (Faulkner et al 2007;McCarthy et al. 2009), both the interviews undertaken with professionals and from the experiment undertaken at the co-location workshop in Exeter, found that :The power of VISUALISATIONS AND ANIMATIONS in realising the uncertainty estimates was potentially great;The professionals questioned initially struggled to comprehend scientifically defined flood forecast uncertainties (probabilistic and/or ensemble forecasts) without FURTHER TRANSLATION OF THE SCIENCE. When this was available as perhaps a translational discourse, the preparedness to embrace a more sophisticated expression of the models uncertainties was welcomed. Better DECISION-SUPPORT TOOLS are needed.

FINDINGSFINDINGSFunders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk(5c) OWNERSHIP OF THE UNCERTAINTYPsychological, sociological, and behavioural aspects of risk communication excited considerable international research interest in the latter part of the 20th century. Handmer et al. in a recent study argued that practitioners may hesitate to interpret uncertainty tools correctly.

McCarthy et al found that flood professionals argued for accurate information , an aspiration rather at odds with the reality of uncertain model-based forecasts. When actually ll they will ever get they are getting are uncertain model outputs. Whrn we trialled graphical and translational functions with the professionals, however, they agreed that communications should be visual and clear and include enoughinformation for the job in hand and that this should include the uncertainty.

Interest in this dichotomy has increased - in the Netherlands, a broader understanding of the errors and biases that permeate human perception of risk information has emerged, and new postnormal communication tools have been debated.

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Decision Tree and Wiki Pages at http://www.floodrisknet.org.uk/methods/The WIKI Decision-support toolFunders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk9

The position of the translational discourse straddling domainAlternative extended communication structures will be needed (a shared domain)

New interdisciplinary languages and professional challenges may need to exist;

A shared virtual institution (alternatively, the arena may be envisaged as having physical construct);

Funders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk10SHAPING A TRANSLATIONAL DISCOURSEIn the field of FRM, a shared domain to translate science to professional does not yet exist, sothat alternative extended communication structures will be needed. Interdisciplinary structures that embrace translational discourses between disciplines and professional agendas require a new arena and a new semiotics straddling science and professional domains.

What is NEEDED to SHAPE such a A TRANSLATIONAL DISCOURSE?

Innovative interdisciplinary languages and professional challenges may need to exist. These must exist within a new ( at least partly) shared virtual institution. Such an institution may have electronic space as its arena. Alternatively, the arena may be envisaged as having physical construct; NB there are already good practice models for the construction of a translation mechanism available in other contexts, such as the extension activities of advisory services in soil management science, in both the UK and in France, where science into policy is being achieved in ways that both professional and scientist learn to modify expectations and ideals by interchange and participation in a common arena, often out in the landscape itself .

Leadership is essential for establishing and moving forward a translational discourse on flood risk uncertainty. Leadership is probably required from within Defra and the EA, as well as from academics in the field, and it should be taken forwardby leaders of professional bodies and possibly the governments chief scientist. Some funding to provide the time that bothscientists and FRM professionals need to enhance the articulation of uncertainties in FRM science is also required. Although incentives should be considered, disincentives(e.g., withholding funding where uncertainties are notcommunicated more professionally) may also be necessary.

New ethical standards focused on uncertainty analysis need debating within professional bodies that already have professional codes.

IMPROVED VISUALISATION OF UNCERTAINTYTHE WAY FORWARD: V ISUALISATIONSFunders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.uk

end-user tailored

From this...To this....THE WAY FORWARD: V ISUALISATIONSFunders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.ukAlthough uncertainty modelling is still not routine,1 and 2D inundation simulations with uncertainty layers underneath are a possibility

visually clearEnsemble rainfall forecasts ( e.g. European Centre for medium range Weather Forecasts)

THE WAY FORWARD: V ISUALISATIONSinterrogatableFunders: EPSRC Grant: EP/FP202511/1www.floodrisk.org.ukIN FR Science A range of sophisticated models designed to predict the temporal and spatial pattern of floo