4th GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Workshop
March 24-26, 2015, Norfolk, VA, USA

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Joint Breakout Sessions: Creating the practice-relevant knowledge to cope with global change

The breakout sessions reviewed methods for knowledge creation related to key areas of global change and consider the possibilities of rapid changes that might challenge the traditional scientific approach.

Joint Breakout Session 1: Intelligent use of data quantity vs focusing on data quality

Chair: Stefano Nativi; Rapporteur: Bart de Lathouwer

The new Web 2.0 environment has impacted economy with what is termed "wikinomics" by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams and shifted the basis to four principles: openness, peering, sharing and acting globally. How is the Web 2.0 impacting the generation and use of data and knowledge? How can, and how should, classical Earth observation with a focus on data quality make use of the new technologies where the data quantity provides for new ways of extracting information and knowledge from the huge amount of data available now? How can new approaches of co-design of research agendas for problem solutions and co-creation of knowledge help make use of data quantity?

Joint Breakout Session 2: Shifting from disciplinary to problem and solution focused science

Chair: Kathy Fontaine; Rapporteur: Andiswa Mlisa

The complexity of global change, climate change, and sustainability requires a transition from a bottom-up, discipline-based approach that often addresses complexity by simplification, to a top-down approach starting at the problem and recognizing the full scale of complexity. How can observation be used to provide the constraints and evidence for such an problem and solution-oriented approach?

Joint Breakout Session 3: Avoiding Type II errors

Chair: Hans-Peter Plag

Current global and climate change science and science relevant to societal sustainability science is focused more on avoiding Type I errors, that is, "false positives" (false alarms), than avoiding Tyoe II erros, that is, "false negatives" (missed alarms). The session will look at whether focusing on Type I errors will allow us to identify and avoid severe thresholds (like crossing the global boundaries of the safe operating space for humanity) before it is too late. The threshold discussion used by, e.g., Tim Lenton and Jim White, raises the question whether it would be better to focus also on Type II errors. Is the transition out of the Holocene a time where Type II errors are more critical, and if so, how would a science look like and be organized if the main emphasis is on avoiding Type II errors? How would that impact the relevance of observations and the prioritizing of observation systems?

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