Generating probabilities in support of societal decision-making


  • Alexander S. P. Pfaff,

    1. School of International and Public Affairs, Department of Economics, and Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University,New York, N.Y, USA
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  • Dorothy M. Peteet

    1. NASA/Goddard Institute of Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University,Palisades, N.Y, USA
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Earth science predictions of natural phenomena are increasingly seen as valuable aids for improving societal decision-making. Pielke et al. [1999] argued presuasively that good predictions alone won't achieve better societal decisions. These authors call for change in the decision-making environments in which scientific predictions are used, though that may be more than those of scientists. We see a role also for changing the information that scientists could better serve socisty by generating not only possible scenarios, but also probabilities, even for decisions that are to be made in the future.