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Climate Variability: from Data and Models to Decisions
The main goal of the workshop was to lay out the mathematical issues that arise in trying to understand climate variability and its manifestation at the global and regional level. We focused on various aspects related to the analysis of data, the development and interpretation of models, and the assessment of decision-relevant information coming from the combination of data and model output.
The format of each of the five days was two lectures in the morning and a panel discussion lead by two experts in the afternoon, each of which was followed by breakout groups to discuss the issues raised in the talks and panels. This format proved to be very useful to promote vigorous discussions, concluding in two long sessions which summarized a set of questions that was promptly shared with the participants during the workshop. This has led to new collaborations between participants on the mathematical issues related to climate as described in the previous paragraph. Thus we consider the workshop to be successful in achieving the main aim of initiating cross-disciplinary research efforts between mathematicians, statisticians, and earth scientists.
Below is a brief summary of the talks and panels. The talk by Wilco Hazeleger discussed climate variability, leading to a discussion about distinction between internal variability of the climate and the variability enforced by external factors such as human actions. The afternoon panel discussion of Matt Smith and Bart von den Hurk focused on applications in ecological sciences and planning. The breakout groups came up with a list of 20 questions that were perceived to be worth understanding in detail.
The next day was devoted to various statistical methods, beginning with Peter Challenor's talk about the use of emulators and Anna von der Heyt's talk about climate sensitivity to the change in the CO_2 contents of the atmosphere, followed by panel discussion of Sreekar Vadalamani and Daan Crommelin about the statistical theoretical aspects these problems.
The third day focused on monsoons and dynamical systems aspects, with the comprehensive review by Ravi Nanjundiah of our understanding of the monsoons using data as well as models, and the talk of Raj Saha describing the attempts to build a minimal box model to capture the basic dynamical aspects of monsoons. The afternoon panel of Jason Frank and Alejandro Aceves discussed various numerical issues in simulating these complex dynamical systems.
The fourth day was focused on understanding the interrelation between observational data and models, starting with talks by Lenny Smith and Dave Stainforth on obtaining decision-relevant information from the data and model outputs, followed by the afternoon panel of Amit Apte and Erik van Vleck about mathematical and dynamical aspects of data assimilation.
The final day focused on summarizing the proceedings of previous four days with the panel of Henk Dijkstra and Chris Jones guiding the discussion to revise the list of questions made on the first day and giving it a more concrete shape in order to focus on future collaborations.
Amit Apte (Bangalore, India)
Henk Dijkstra (Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Christopher Jones (Chapel Hill, USA)
David Stainforth (London, United Kingdom)