19 May 2016, Stockholm, Sweden

 Communicating climate science:

an Early Career Scientists Dialogue

International Conference for Regional Climate, CORDEX

Gaby Langendijk

We are all climate communication heros!. With this statement Asher Minns began the Early Career Scientists (ECS) side-event focused on science communication at the International Conference on Regional Climate-Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment 2016 (ICRC-CORDEX 2016). Asher specializes in science communication at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East-Anglia. He gave an interactive presentation outlining important principles for communicating climate science. Through active participation of the audience he explained that effective communication is about "understanding how you are heard instead of what you are saying". Asher directly engaged the audience by asking them to explain their research to their neighbor as though the person was someone they were randomly chatting with in a public bus. It turned out to be a challenge for the audience to translate their complicated research in simplified, non-technical terms.

After Ashers presentation four early career scientists outlined communication examples from their own research and explained their vision of how to improve science communication. Alejandro di Luca, pointed out you should highlight a few key take-home messages while explaining your research. An elephant was used as a metaphor by Rusph Raj Tiwari, to illustrate an important obstacle in communication. If we take a narrow focus, like on just the ears or trunk of the elephant, then the audience can not grasp the bigger picture - the entire elephant. Nana Klutse writes a short policy paper on the side for every scientific publication she writes. Co-working and listening to others are the key elements for improving science communication according to Shazwin Taib. The ideas from the early career scientists gave interesting insights and showed that communication style also depends on the audience you are dealing with, such as your colleagues, friends, social-media or journalists.

After the presentations a discussion followed with all the presenters and the audience touching upon a diverse set of topics, ranging from miscommunication to the opportunities available to early career scientists to improve communications. The ECS event facilitated an interesting and lively dialogue about science communication among early career scientists and it sparked some good ideas for improving climate science communication in the future. After the event drinks and bites were served enabling direct interaction between the early career scientists as well as between the more senior scientists present.

Presentations were given by:

Asher Minns, science communication expert. Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research at the University of East-Anglia, U.K.

Alejandro di Luca, University of New South-Wales, Australia

Nana Klutse, Climate Center of Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute, Ghana

Rusph Rai Tiwari, Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

Shazwin Taib, Department of Environmental Engineering at the Technological University, Malaysia

The ECS event was sponsored by:

helix climate Crescendo smhi-logo