Willis Eschenbach, in an open letter to Kevin Trenberth, lais bare the catch-22 for scientists-communicators:
Admit the true uncertainties.
while at the same time:
Write scientific papers that don’t center around words like “possibly” or “conceivably” or “might”.
Hmm… that might be tricky. Due to the impossibility of complying with both requests though, it’s a good recipe for presuming someone guilty until proven guilty.
There’s an important question underlying these recommendations though: How could scientist steer between the need to admit uncertainties and at the same time communicate clearly?
Update: I partly answered my own question before: It’s what we know that’s most important in communicating to the public.
Also: The catch-22 in communicating to the public; talking by means of merely providing rational information or emotive storytelling (just the facts won’t do); being angry or calm in your communication?