Category:Uncertainty Working Group

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In the LinkedEarth context, a working group (WG) is a self-organized coalition of knowledgeable experts, whose activities are governed herewith. This page is dedicated to the discussion of data and metadata standards for the uncertainty associated with ChronData and PaleoData.

Members of 'Uncertainty Working Group'

Specific Task

We recommend that the discussions focus on the following considerations, and explore potential commonalities.

Definition of essential, recommended, and desired in regards to paleoclimate data standards

For each variable type, we recommend:

  • structuring discussions about how uncertainty can affect the scientific questions one would want to ask of the data.
  • Listing essential, recommended, and desired uncertainty information for:
  • Providing an ideal template to report uncertainty in paleoclimate studies.
  • Providing separate recommendations for new and legacy datasets
  • Thinking about how the rest of the paleoscience community, or other (non)scientists may make use of the uncertainties you describe.

If you are aware of such standards for uncertainty applied in other fields, feel free to copy/paste or link here.


The need to archive uncertainty associated with paleoclimate datasets was recognized at the workshop on representing and reducing uncertainties in high-resolution proxy climate data [1].

Representing uncertainties in databases: The World Data Center for Paleoclimatology hosted by NOAA has, through archiving paleoclimatic data and reconstructions, facilitate an explosion of paleoclimate-related research. The down side of this significant archive is that data can easily be obtained and analyzed without knowledge of the limitations and uncertainties contained within individual paleoclimate datasets. Such knowledge, at present, usually, resides with the contributing researcher and there is a need to archive within the database standard measures of proxy data uncertainty. Additional common databasing requirements identified were better metadata to accompany each dataset and archiving of original measurements from the different proxy archives. The latter allows for subsequent improvements in techniques for data standardization (e.g., dealing with growth trends in tree rings), chronological control, better instrumental data for calibration purposes, improved knowledge of climate controls. This is particularly critical for proxy records whose age models evolve through time (through high-resolution dating and/or radiometric re-calibrations performed after the initial publication of the record.

The group highlighted that:

Workshop participants agreed to the importance of improving the representation of uncertainties accompanying contributions in high-resolution paleoclimate data is to adapt the archival process to encourage the collection, quantification and documentation of proxy-specific uncertainties and associated metadata and enhance the availability of high-resolution proxy climate data to multi-proxy effort and model-data inter comparison studies.

Types of Uncertainty

The discussion was started in the Discussion page for marine sediments

Table 1.: Types of uncertainty
Name Definition Notes
Analytical Uncertainty Based on repeat measurements of a standard, 1SD Or the nominal precision of the instrument (for instance error on weight measurements for a microbalance .
Reproducibility Based on repeat measurements of a sample "Most proxy climate data uncertainties are best quantified through sample replication. This has rarely been rigorously accomplished in the past, outside of dendroclimatology and even in this field, there was a call for greater numbers of samples." [1]

Note: Do not edit the polls (even for typos) once voting has started as it will reset the vote counts to zero. If a change needs to be made, make an annotation above the old poll (i.e., above the poll tags) and place the new poll below the first one.

Results of Twitter Poll: 3/15/17
Results of Twitter Poll: 3/16/17-3/22/17
For the uncertainty based on reproducibility, should the number of repeat measurements used to determined the reproducibility be:
You are not entitled to vote.
You are not entitled to view results of this poll.
There were 3 votes since the poll was created on 19:24, 8 March 2017.
poll-id B9E35C548946C0A15E64E231D2FFE830


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cobb, K, Kiefer, T., Lough, J., Overpeck, J., Tudhope, S. 2008 Representing and reducing uncertainties in high-resolution proxy climate data. Report of a workshop sponsored by EPRI, NSF, NOAA, ICTP, PAGES/CLIVAR, June 9-11 2008, International Center for Theoretical Physics, Test Italy.

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