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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

Expert Judgment

Expert judgment is an approach for soliciting informed opinions from individuals with particular expertise. This approach is used to obtain a rapid assessment of the state of knowledge about a particular aspect of climate change. It is frequently used in a panel format, aggregating opinions to cover a broad range of issues regarding a topic. Expert judgment is frequently used to produce position papers on issues requiring policy responses and is integral to most other decision-making tools.

Appropriate Use This approach is most useful either in conjunction with a full research study or when there is insufficient time to undertake a full study. It is important to be aware, however, of the subjective nature of expert judgment and the need to select a representative sample of experts to cover the full spectrum of opinion on an issue.
Scope All locations; all sectors; national or site-specific.
Key Output Current information on any area of climate change and subjective assessment of potential adaptation options.
Key Input Knowledge of experts’ respective areas of expertise.
Ease of Use Easy to apply
Training Required Requires knowledge of policy issues and available experts. More training may be required to assemble an expert panel, formulate questionnaires, and interpret and aggregate expert opinions.
Training Available Informal training offered; contact Ian Burton for information.
Computer Requirements None
Documentation Not applicable

UK, Mackenzie Basin in Canada, Finland.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Ian Burton

Adaptation and Impacts Research Division (AIRD), Meteorological Service of Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Downsview, ON M3S 5T4, Canada; Tel: 416.739.4314; Fax: 416.739.4297; e-mail:

Cost Cost depends on the fee charged by the experts

Cohen, S.J. (ed.). 1997. Mackenzie Basin Impact Study. No. En 50_118/1997_IE. Environment Canada, Downsview, Ontario.

Smith, J.B. and D.A. Tirpak. 1990. The Potential Effects of Global Climate Change on the United States. Report to Congress, U.S. EPA, Washington, DC.