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Overstating the effects of anthropogenic climate change? A critical assessment of attribution methods in climate science

García Portela, Laura and Maraun, Douglas (2023) Overstating the effects of anthropogenic climate change? A critical assessment of attribution methods in climate science. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Climate scientists have proposed two methods to link extreme weather events and anthropogenic climate forcing: the probabilistic and the storyline approach. Proponents of the first approach have raised the criticism that the storyline approach could be overstating the role of anthropogenic climate change. This issue has important implications because, in certain contexts, decision-makers might seek to avoid information that overstates the effects of anthropogenic climate change. In this paper, we explore two research questions. First, whether and to what extent the storyline approach overstates the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Second, whether the objections offered against the storyline approach constitute good reasons to prefer the probabilistic approach. Concerning the first question, we show that the storyline approach does not necessarily overstate the effects of climate change, and particularly not for the reasons offered by proponents of the probabilistic approach. Concerning the second question, we show, independently, that the probabilistic approach faces the same or very similar objections to those raised against the storyline approach. These results suggest that these objections might not constitute good reasons to prefer the probabilistic approach over the storyline approach.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
García Portela, Lauralaura.garciaportela@gmail.com
Maraun, Douglasdouglas-maraun@uni-graz.at
Keywords: attribution science; storyline approach; probabilistic approach; overstatements
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Climate Science and Meteorology
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Laura García-Portela
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2023 14:20
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 14:20
Item ID: 21735
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Climate Science and Meteorology
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 10 February 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21735

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