We provide public access to climate-impact science to generate a better understanding of climate related risks.
We believe in knowledge and understanding as a good basis for action. That is why we see it as our task to provide a clear picture of what science knows about the impacts of climate change on natural and human systems. The information you find here is sorted according to three types of studies: 1) detection and attribution of observed impacts of climate change, 2) future projection of the impacts of climate change, and 3) impact model evaluation, i.e. a test of our current understanding of individual processes as represented in the models. The information is collected according to a “from the expert to the public” principle, i.e. scientists who have recently published a study on climate impacts approach the ISIpedia editorial team or are invited by the team to translate their own findings into an associated ISIpedia article that is then made accessible via this portal.
We certainly provide numbers describing future risks of climate change and the contribution of climate change to observed changes in natural or human systems. However, we consider it equally important to explain the underlying mechanisms, what we know about them, where we do not know enough, and what is needed to improve our knowledge. Our focus is not on providing interactive visualization of all available data but on providing guidance and explanations in the ever increasing volume of information.
Wherever meaningful we encourage authors to break global information down to national level as one critical political unit. We support the ranking of countries along their level of affectedness by the impacts of climate change. We set this into the context of their level of development and contribution to global emissions of greenhouse gases. Wherever subnational information is available you can also find it by the country label.
Each article published on ISIpedia needs a peer-reviewed scientific paper in the background. That means that the control of the scientific quality is ensured by the scientific review process organized by the journal where the original study has been published. The ISIpedia editorial team does not organize a new scientific review but checks whether the ISIpedia article is close enough to the original publication, and whether the content is well presented to a non-expert audience. To this end, we strongly encourage author teams of scientists and journalists or other experts in science communication to jointly write ISIpedia articles.
All results collected under the “future projections” category are based on simulations generated within the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP). ISIMIP represents a community-driven initiative meanwhile supported by about 80 different modelling teams world-wide. We decided for this restriction as it ensures that all climate impact projections provided by the ISIpedia portal are consistent in future socio-economic development and the climate data used to force the models. Results from different impacts models of the same type (e.g. hydrological models or crop models) can thus be compared and results can be aggregated across different types of impacts. For example it becomes possible to estimate the total costs of future changes in the occurrence of weather-related extreme events such as floods, droughts, crop failure, wildfires or tropical cyclones.