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Communicating climate science @CORDEX 2016

`You are all climate communication heroes!’, with this statement Asher Minns started the Early Career Scientists side-event on science communication during the ICRC-CORDEX conference held in Stockholm, Sweden from 17th-20th of May 2016 (http://www.icrc-cordex2016.org).

Asher Minns, specialist in science communication and working at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East-Anglia, and lead for HELIX and CRESCENDO's communications work and Future Earth's European Regional Centre, 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 it is that you think that you said”. Asher directly engaged the audience by asking them to explain their research to their neighbour as if it was someone they were randomly chatting with on a public bus. It turned out to be a challenge for the audience to translate their complicated research in simplified, non-technical explanations.

After Asher’s presentation four early career scientists (ECSs) described communication examples coming from their research and explained their vision on how to improve science communication. Alejandro di Luca (University of New South-Wales) pointed out you should highlight a few key take-home messages while explaining your research. An elephant was used as a metaphor by Pushp Raj Tiwari (Indian Institute of Technology) 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 cannot grasp the bigger picture - the entire elephant. Nana Klutse (Climate Center of the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute) writes a short policy paper for every scientific publication. Co-working and listening to others are the key elements for improving science communication according to Shazwin Taib (Technological University Malaysia).

After the presentations a discussion followed between all the presenters and the audience. 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.

The ECS event was sponsored by:
HELIX, CRESCENDO, SMHI, WCRP