Framing Extreme Event Attribution from the Bottom up – an Enquiry into the Social Representations of key stakeholders, of the Press and of Climate Scientists.

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:15 PM
Jean-Paul Vanderlinden1, Mareike Fellmer2, Nathalia Capellini1, Insa Meinke2, Yorghos Remvikos1, Dennis Bray2, Chantal Pacteau3 and Hans Von Storch4, (1)Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, CEARC-OVSQ, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, (2)Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung, Institut für Küstenforschung, Geesthacht, Germany, (3)Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique Climat, Environnement Société, Paris, France, (4)Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, Geesthacht, Germany
Attribution of extreme weather events has recently generated a lot of interest simultaneously within the general public, the scientific community, and stakeholders affected by meteorological extremes. This interest calls for the need to explore the potential convergence of the current atttribution science with the desire and needs of stakeholders. Such an euiry contributes to the development of climate services aiming at quantifying the human responsibility for particular events.

Through interviews with climate scientists, through the analysis of the press coverage of extreme meteorological events, and through stakeholder (private sector, covernment services and local and regional government) focus groups, we analyze how social representations of the concepts associated with extreme event attribution are theorized. From the corpuses generated in the course of this enquiry, we build up a grounded, bottom-up, theorization of extreme weather event attribution. This bottom-up theorization allows for a framing of the potential climate services in a way that is attuned to the needs and expectations of the stakeholders.

From apparently simple formulations: “what is an extreme event?”, “what makes it extreme?”, “what is meant by attribution of extreme weather events?”, “what do we want to attribute?”, “what is a climate service?”, we demonstrate the polysemy of these terms and propose ways to address the challenges associated with the juxtaposition of four highly loaded concepts: extreme – event – attribution – climate services.