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Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling



Tailored Assessments Versus Generic Assessment Tools

It is widely held that useful assessments must be consciously tailored to the decision authority and knowledge needs of a specific audience. But if assessment skills consist partly of methods of integrating knowledge across domains, rather than knowledge of the domains per se, some of the basic intellectual activity could be abstracted from the substantive issue assessed. This suggests the possibility of developing generic assessment tools or skills.

Tasks for which such generic skills or tools might be developed could include the following: matching resolutions of information across fields through aggregation, parameterization, and downscaling; representing and propagating uncertainty, including both structural and parameter uncertainty; blending information available with different degrees of confidence; eliciting and employing expert judgment within models; developing tools to involve decision-makers in assessment and modeling processes; and representing different sets of valued environmental (and other) consequences and defining different bases for valuing and comparing them. While these tasks are all expressed in modeling terms, there could also be systematic, generalizable skills in the integration of knowledge in less modeled assessments. To argue that assessment capacity can and should be built implies the existence of some body of general "assessment" skills that generalize across individual issues; otherwise nothing is lost by running an assessment as a discrete set of large integrated assessment projects.


The next section is Embedding Models in the Heads of Policy-Makers.





Parson, E.A. and K. Fisher-Vanden, Searching for Integrated Assessment: A Preliminary Investigation of Methods, Models, and Projects in the Integrated Assessment of Global Climatic Change. Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). University Center, Mich. 1995.


Suggested Citation

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). 1995. Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling of Climate Change [online]. Palisades, NY: CIESIN. Available at [accessed DATE].



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