Author Archives: Marjolijn Haasnoot

Uncertainty at AGU

Several sessions at AGU 2017 conference will adress (hydrologic) uncertainty. An overview is given here: http://aguhu.blogspot.nl/2017/07/which-session-to-submit-to-hydrologic.html

DMDU draws on a range of approaches to deal with uncertainty. Methods for living with (deep) uncertainty is a key focus, but not all aspects of a situation are deeply uncertain. Even if we don’t necessarily think about it, we also use methods to reduce uncertainty in model structure, and perhaps to characterise uncertainty in parameters that can be estimated from data without controversy. This context-sensitive approach to uncertainty is a strength of DMDU.

Submissions to any of these sessions are warmly invited (abstracts due 2nd August).

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Register for the annual workshop

If you have not yet done so, you can sign up for the annual workshop at http://bit.ly/DMDU2017. Here you’ll also find information about the workshop, and this will be updated as the programme is confirmed. This page also provides information about a DMDU training day on Monday 13 November, which may also be of interest to you.  Both events will be held at the Oxford Martin School, 34 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BD. The workshop will be on 14-15 November 2017, and there will be a conference dinner at the Museum of Natural History on the evening of Tuesday 14 November.

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Deadline for abstracts extended

The deadline for submitting abstracts for this years annual meeting is extended to 9th of June.

To register or submit an abstract, please go to the conference website.

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Simulated Climate Adaptation in Stormwater Systems: Evaluating the Efficiency of Adaptation Strategies (2017)

McCurdy, A. and W. Travis (2017) Simulated climate adaptation in stormwater systems: evaluating the efficiency of adaptation strategies. Environment Systems and Decisions. Published online: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10669-017-9631-z

Adaptations in infrastructure may be necessitated by changes in temperature and precipitation patterns to avoid losses and maintain expected levels of service. A roster of adaptation strategies has emerged in the climate change literature, especially with regard to timing: anticipatory, concurrent, or reactive. Significant progress has been made in studying climate change adaptation decision making that incorporates uncertainty, but less work has examined how strategies interact with existing infrastructure characteristics to influence adaptability. We use a virtual testbed of highway drainage crossings configured with a selection of actual culvert emplacements in Colorado, USA, to examine the effect of adaptation strategy and culvert characteristics on cost efficiency and service level under varying rates of climate change. A meta-model approach with multinomial regression is used to compare the value of better climate change predictions with better knowledge of existing crossing characteristics. We find that, for a distributed system of infrastructural units like culverts, knowing more about existing characteristics can improve the efficacy of adaptation strategies more than better projections of climate change. Transportation departments choosing climate adaptation strategies often lack detailed data on culverts, and gathering that data could improve the efficiency of adaptation despite climate uncertainty.

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Decision-Making Under Uncertain Climate Change: A Response, and an Invitation, to Bret Stephens

By Robert Lempert and Marjolijn Haasnoot

In columnist Bret Stephens’ first blog post for the New York Times, published at the end of April, he highlights the uncertainty surrounding climate change, warns against overconfidence, and issues an invitation to dialogue. We agree that significant uncertainty exists regarding the future impacts of climate change and the costs of avoiding those impacts, that it is dangerous to ignore or downplay that uncertainty, and that acknowledging these uncertainties can provide a strong foundation for dialogue.

A vast literature exists on uncertainty and climate change. Most of it suggests that uncertainty is a reason for action. That said, it remains a significant challenge to determine what actions most effectively balance society’s many goals, in the presence of deep uncertainty about the likelihood of various futures and how our actions are related to consequences.

In exchanges with Stephens, both Andy Revkin and Costa Samaras highlighted the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty as a community that brings together researchers and practitioners from all over the world. We develop, apply and exchange experiences on methods, approaches and case studies on decision making under deep uncertainty. Climate change is one of the policy domains (though not the only one) of great interest to many of the Society’s members. Continue reading

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2017 annual meeting: DMDU across mulitiple scales. Submit an abstract and register

Please save the date for the 2017 DMDU meeting. The meeting will be hosted by the Oxford Martin School in Oxford, UK, on 14-15 November 2017, with a training on DMDU methodologies scheduled for 13 November 2017. For more information on the workshop, visit the website. The 2017 annual meeting theme is dealing with deep uncertainty in decision making across multiple scales. The workshop will tackle the challenges of decision making at many different scales, from the perspective of deep uncertainty. The theme of multiple scales embraces spatial scales, temporal scales and scales of governance.

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First Annual Training Day on DMDU methods

by: Steven Popper

The Society for Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty held its first annual training day event on 15 November 2016 at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC. This was the day prior to the start of the DMDU Society’s annual two-day workshop. The Society’s leadership team has decided that a training day will precede future DMDU workshops under the direction of the chair for education and training in coordination with that year’s workshop organizing committee. This decision is a direct response to an interest expressed through the questionnaire on education and training distributed to the Society’s membership earlier in 2016. The survey disclosed not only an interest in such a session but a willingness to participate on the part of students, DMDU analysts and methodologists, and policy practitioners.

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Bridging the False Divide: Are We Ignoring the Role of Adaptive Operations for Improving the Efficiency, Resilience and Robustness of Planned Infrastructure?

by: Patrick Reed

This blog reports on one of the session of the annual meeting of 2016. The sessoin was organized by Patrick Reed (Cornell University), Jan Kwakkel (TU Delft),  Andrea Castelletti (Politecnico di Milano), Laura Bonzanigo (World Bank). Invited speakers were Julie Quinn (Cornell University) and Marc Jaxa-Rozen (TU Delft).

Session Focus: This session explored the interplay between short-term adaptive operations and their influence on long-term planning is particularly relevant for irreversible decisions for long-lived infrastructures that present complex ecological impacts, and must reliably meet multi-sectoral demands (e.g., reservoirs, energy production/transmission, transportation networks, etc.). A core theme throughout this whole session is that current DMDU frameworks that truly seek robustness must better exploit information feedbacks, tailor adaptivity so that triggered actions are contextually appropriate, and minimize lock in.  The session was organized into three case study presentations, five posters, and an interactive serious table top game. This suite of multi-sector examples helped clarify emerging innovations and persistent challenges related to bridging the planning and management divide.

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Deep Uncertainty and the Long-Term: Time, the policy challenge and enablers for policy persistence

by Judy Lawrence and Robert Lempert

At the conclusion of the DMDU workshop at Deltares, The Netherlands in 2015, we identified political scientists as an additional group that could inform the discussions at the next annual workshop. Accordingly, we designed a problem session at the annual workshop at the World Bank in 2016, entitled: Deep Uncertainty and the Long-Term: Time, the policy challenge and enablers for policy persistence. Whether or not decision makers consider the implications of their decisions for future generations under changing conditions depends on a range of institutional, political, behavioural and ethical factors. One of these is the extent to which policy decisions are influenced by short-termism or presentist bias. This in turn, depends on the political context within which decisions are made.

Tools developed for decision making under conditions of uncertainty and change, need to be ‘fit’ for the changing environment and for the political context, to enable policies to persist over time and adapt to changing conditions. Or the political context could be changed using commitment devices. Thus, for successful implementation of policies that can persist over the long term or be adjusted as the world changes, we need to understand the drivers that motivate the actors.

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What are the topics of this year’s annual meeting? A word cloud

by  Marjolijn Haasnoot, Laura Bonzanigo

Tomorrow we will start our 4th annual meeting of the Society for Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty. Like last year we made word cloud of the titles of the presentation, abstract and posters.  As expected ‘uncertainty’ is one of the most frequent words this year. However, this has not always been the case. If you look back at the word clouds from previous meetings (see picture below), you see this pops up in the second meeting, and in the third meeting this becomes DEEP uncertainty. Is uncertainty increasing?
Regarding the policy domains and topics that are addressed ‘infrastructure’ and ‘climate’ stand out in this year’s meeting. The topic of ‘water’ follows after that. In previous years water was more present, while in the first meeting that was less of a clear policy topic that stood out. ‘Climate’ as topic for deep uncertainty has always been there, although less apparent in the titles of last years meeting. You might also notice a change from ‘robust decision making/analysis’ in the first meeting towards ‘adaptation/adaptive decision making’. The most outstanding difference the infrastructure in this year’s meeting. We are very much looking forward to hear more …

wordle-all-years

Word clouds are made with: http://www.wordle.net/create

 

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