Participants at the first workshop in Cambridge on stochastic modelling of climate

Exeter’s role in major climate research programme

A major international research programme aiming to solve some of the fundamental issues facing climate prediction is being led by experts from the University of Exeter.

Professors Matthew Collins, Peter Cox, John Thuburn and David Stephenson, all from the University’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, have been heavily involved in designing and organising the new programme.

Based at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, the project will bring together 150 world-leading mathematicians, statisticians, and climate scientists in the UK.

Professor Stephenson said: “This groundbreaking programme in mathematics and statistics will help address some of the most fundamental problems currently facing climate modelling, which will ultimately lead to improvements in climate prediction systems.

“These predictions will be hugely important in developing our understanding of climate change, helping to inform decisions on how we can mitigate it and adapt for what’s ahead.”

The main goals of the project are to make substantial progress in the representation of processes in weather and climate models, and to develop systems for making reliable probabilistic predictions of future climate from multiple climate model simulations.

In addition to researchers working together on problems at the University of Cambridge, the programme also includes workshops on several key issues.

The first workshop was on Stochastic Methods in Climate Modelling, held in Cambridge from 23-27 August. This saw debate over exciting ideas from dynamical systems theory, catastrophe theory and statistical mechanics, with new work presented by members of Exeter’s mathematics research institute, Tim Jupp, Hugo Lambert, Frank Kwasniok, Tim Jupp, Sebastian Wieczorek, and Peter Cox.

An event will be held at the University of Exeter this week (20-23 September) on Probabilistic Climate Prediction.

Organised by David Stephenson, Mat Collins and Linda McIlwraith in the Exeter Climate Systems research centre, the event will address how best to create and evaluate probabilistic forecasts of the real world from sets of climate model simulations.

Two further workshops are planned for later in the autumn: a dissemination event for government and the finance industry (Willis Building, City of London, 23-24 November 2010), and a final workshop on Uncertainty in Climate Prediction: Models, Methods and Decision Support (Cambridge, 6-10 December 2010).

Anyone wanting to find out more about the programme can visit: http://www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/CLP/

Date: 21 September 2010

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