Research Papers: Wändi Bruine de Bruin

Confidence Levels and Likelihood Terms in IPCC Reports: A Survey of Experts from Different Scientific Disciplines

By Wändi Bruine de Bruin et al.

Climatic Change


Scientific assessments, such as those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inform policymakers and the public about the state of scientific evidence and related uncertainties. We studied how experts from different scientific disciplines who were authors of IPCC reports, interpret the uncertainty language recommended in the Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties. This IPCC guidance note discusses how to use confidence levels to describe the quality of evidence and scientific agreement, as well likelihood terms to describe the probability intervals associated with climate variables. We find that (1) physical science experts were more familiar with the IPCC guidance note than other experts, and they followed it more often; (2) experts’ confidence levels increased more with perceptions of evidence than with agreement; (3) experts’ estimated probability intervals for climate variables were wider when likelihood terms were presented with “medium confidence” rather than with “high confidence” and when seen in context of IPCC sentences rather than out of context, and were only partly in agreement with the IPCC guidance note. Our findings inform recommendations for communications about scientific evidence, assessments, and related uncertainties.

Which Financial Stressors are Linked to Food Insecurity Among Adults in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands? An Exploratory Study

By Wändi Bruine de Bruin

Food Security


Food insecurity among adults age 65 and older is a growing public policy concern in European countries, but the extent of the problem and the related financial stressors are unclear. The purpose of this paper is to measure the percent of food insecure individuals in a targeted sample of financially fragile older adults, and to identify associated financial stressors and socio-economic characteristics. This exploratory study is based on an online survey of 1,059 older adults experiencing financial hardship. Participants were recruited through commercial consumer panels in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. The proportion of financially fragile older adults reporting food insecurity ranged from 24% in the British sample, 29% in the German sample, and 35% in the Dutch sample. We identified financial stressors that contributed to food insecurity in each country sample. Having more financial stressors increased the risk of food insecurity, which was similar in each country. Within and across country samples, food insecurity is associated with financial stressors. Insights for policy makers, consumer advocates, and social services point to the value of integrating financial and food-related support services, the potential for cross-country collaboration, and efforts that take into account the particular financial circumstances of older adults.

Food Insecurity Is Under-reported in Surveys That Ask About the Past Year

By Wändi Bruine de Bruine et al.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine


Food insecurity affects 1 in 10 Americans in a typical year; recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data show that this food insecurity rate was stable from 2019 to 2021. However, data from Los Angeles County and other U.S. regions show that food insecurity spiked during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. One reason for this discrepancy may be that food insecurity measures assess experiences over different time frames. This study investigated the discrepancies in food insecurity rates by comparing past-week and past-year food insecurity measures and explored the role of recall bias.

Public Concern about Water Safety, Weather, and Climate: Insights from the World Risk Poll

By Wändi Bruine de Bruine et al.

Environmental Science and Technology


Water safety refers to the quality of one’s drinking water and whether it lacks dangerous contaminants. Limited access to safe water is projected to impact approximately 5 billion people worldwide by 2050. Climate change and worsening severe weather events pose increasing threats to global water safety. However, people may not perceive links between climate change and water safety, potentially undermining their willingness to implement behaviors that improve water safety. Existing studies on water safety risk perceptions have mostly been conducted in single-country contexts, which limits researchers’ ability to make cross-national comparisons. Here, we assessed the extent to which people’s severe weather concern and climate change concern predict their water safety concern. Our analyses used survey data from the 142-country 2019 Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, including 21 low-income and 34 lower-middle-income countries. In mixed-effects models, severe weather concern was significantly more predictive of water safety concern than was climate change concern, although both resulted in positive associations. Worldwide, this finding was robust, insensitive to key model specifications and countries’ varying protection against unsafe drinking water. We suggest communicators and policymakers improve messaging about water safety and other environmental threats by explaining how they are impacted by worsening severe weather.

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