Involving users was central to the development of UKCP09 and was led by UKCIP. Following the release of UKCIP02 and leading up to UKCP09, UKCIP engaged and consulted with a broad spectrum of users of UK climate projections. The intent was to inform developments in what information was provided, as well as the means of delivery of that information.
To involve users in the early stages of the UKCP09 process, UKCIP held several workshops between 2004 and 2006. These involved a broad range of existing and potential users of UK climate projections. This series of workshops was followed by a web-based consultation in 2006 that provided an opportunity for a wider number of stakeholders to express their preferences on various aspects related to the delivery and presentation of UKCP09. A report detailing the results of this consultation exercise is available in the user engagement document .
Feedback from users indicated five key areas for improvement:
- Improved spatial and temporal details;
- Improved consideration and quantification of associated uncertainties;
- Improved accessibility of climate change information;
- More information about climate change in the marine environment; and
- More information on how to use climate information most effectively within impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessments.
The consultations also provided a better understanding of the ways in which climate information was used by reflecting on the experiences of applying UKCIP02 products, namely:
- A majority of respondents to the consultations had used the UKCIP02 climate change scenarios, most commonly accessing them through the summary report, technical report or electronic maps.
- The broad range of uses made of UKCIP02 can be crudely divided into those associated with specific research, policy or design decisions, and those associated with general awareness-raising and communication.
During the latter stages of the UKCP09 development process it was recognised that more informed user feedback and guidance was crucial. The User's Panel, chaired by UKCIP, helped to ensure that users were engaged formally in the development process. The panel brought together a representative cross-section of users of climate change scenarios and related information. Members' views and suggestions were sought on various aspects of the development and delivery of UKCP09. The Users' Panel operated with the understanding that many fundamental decisions about the methodology for constructing the Projections had already been made by Defra and the Met Office Hadley Centre.
Discussions with experts
Targeted consultations were undertaken on specific aspects associated with delivering UKCP09. One important topic was how best to communicate probabilistic climate projections to users. To gain some insights, informal discussions were held with various (academic) experts with experience and insights in this or related fields.
Experts advised of the need for users to clearly understand the limitations and assumptions embedded in the Projections, to describe the probabilistic projections as conditional on the method used to produce them and to provide clear and practical examples of how to (and in some cases how not to) use and interpret the Projections and related information.
Regional familiarisation workshops were offered to each English region and Devolved Administration. These were organised with the assistance of regional climate change partnerships or their equivalent.
The events introduced users to UKCP09, the principles behind it and the range of products available. They also allowed users to provide feedback and suggestions on different aspects of UKCP09 presentation; including what guidance would help them to use UKCP09. The workshops led to the identification of a preliminary list of common questions and provided an opportunity to identify users who could explore UKCP09 products and share their experience by developing case studies.