Cover art for podcast The Life Scientific

The Life Scientific

242 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future.

31:38

Tamsin Edwards on the uncertainty in climate science

Certainty is comforting. Certainty is quick. But science is uncertain. And this is particularly true for people who are trying to understand climate change.

Climate scientist, Tamsin Edwards tackles this uncertainty head on. She quantifies the uncertainty inherent in all climate change predictions to try and understand which of many possible storylines about the future of our planet are most likely to come true. How likely is it that the ice cliffs in Antarctica will collapse into the sea causing a terrifying amount of sea level rise?

Even the best supercomputers in the world aren’t fast enough to do all the calculations we need to understand what might be going on, so Tamsin uses statistical tools to fill in the gaps.

She joined the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 and is currently working on the 6th Assessment Report which will inform the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26.

She tells Jim Al-Khalili about her life and work and why she wishes more people would have the humility (and confidence) to consider the possibility that they might be wrong.

Producer: Anna Buckley

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