Abstract• References• Author information Climate simulation data comprise a range of different phenomena with complex and interacting processes. Yet our understanding of the climate is incomplete despite the huge volumes of data, of which only a small fraction has been explored, and many questions remain, particularly those on the character and origin of uncertainties associated with model simulations and how further modelling efforts can improve understanding. Here, we question whether climate model information could be used more effectively and how so-called 'ensembles of opportunity' should be interpreted. Statisticians can contribute substantially to designing 'smarter' ensemble experiments, improving the distillation of information from ensembles, and helping interpret the relative merits of additional simulations. Future progress may be enhanced by increasing collaborations with statisticians.