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Theo Murphy international scientific meeting organised by Professor Tim Palmer FRS
This meeting follows on from the 2010 Anniversary Discussion Meeting on “Handling Uncertainty in Science” but with a focus on weather and climate prediction and downstream applications. How is uncertainty represented in weather and climate prediction? How reliable are representations of uncertainty? How can decision makers in weather and climate sensitive sectors make useful decisions in the light of uncertain input? Are current ensemble weather and climate prediction systems useful for decision making across a variety of application sectors? How should probability forecasts be presented to the public?
Download the meeting programme here (PDF)
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Professor Tim Palmer, University of OxfordUncertainty in weather and climate prediction: some introductory remarks
Professor Tim Palmer is a Royal Society 2010 Anniversary Research Professor at Oxford University, and consultant at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, based in Reading. Tim's research is focussed on the dynamics and predictability of weather and climate, and he has pioneered the development of techniques to quantify flow-dependent uncertainty in weather and climate forecasts.
Mr Ken Mylne, Met OfficeEnsemble prediction of weather and its impact
Ken Mylne joined the Met Office from Oxford University in 1984 and initially conducted experimental research on pollution dispersion in the turbulent boundary layer. He then spent 6 years as a weather forecaster issuing aviation and shipping forecasts and warnings, before returning to research in ensemble forecasting, a technique used to understand the uncertainty in the weather forecast. He led the development of the Met Office's own ensemble prediction system, MOGREPS, which is now one of the world's leading operational ensemble forecasting systems. More recently he has focused more on the application of ensembles and integrating their use fully into the Met Office's operational production procedures, and in propagating the uncertainty in the weather forecast into an understanding of the impact on end-users to enable those users to make effective decisions in the face of uncertainty. Ken has been chair of the World Meteorological Organisation's Expert Team on Ensemble Prediction for the past 8 years.
Professor Peter J Webster, Georgia Institute of Technology, AtlantaSustainability through hazard anticipation and mitigation
Professor Webster’s career may be divided into two parts: Exploring the dynamics of low-frequency atmospheric circulations such as monsoons and El Nino and determining the predictability of the precipitation associated with these phenomena. More recently, he has attempted to use this theoretical insight to the generation of forecasting models of hazards (floods and tropical cyclones) and the transfer of these modules and their output to the people of the developing world, from government organizations to the villagers, especially in South Asia.
Webster is a professor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During his academic career he has mentored and graduated 28 doctoral students. He has published over 160 peer reviewed articles and two text books. He has been recognized widely receiving the Mason Gold Medal (2012) and the Adrian Gill Award (2003) from the Royal Meteorological Society (2003). In addition he received the Carl-Gustav Rossby Gold medal (2004) and the Jule G. Charney Research Award from the American Meteorological Society. Webster is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Society, the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Professor Dominic Kniveton, University of SussexClimate science and the humanitarian sector
Dominic Kniveton is Professor of Climate Change and Society at the University of Sussex. Originally focusing on the science and modelling of climate change his work encompasses studies of impact, vulnerability, adaptation, and climate resilience. In particular his recent research has explored the nexus of environmental change and migration. Recognition of his profile in this field is shown by invited participations in expert group meetings run by various agencies of the United Nations and UK government and his role as a consultant to the International Organisation of Migration to provide a state of the art review outlining the challenges and approaches to measuring the migration and environment nexus. A key part of many of these studies has been the integration of concepts and approaches from different academic disciplines to achieve research aims. For example in migration-climate studies his current research has embraced the use of qualitative data and analyses and agent based modelling to complement his scientific expertise. Dominic’s other major research interest include humanitarian actions where he has been working to develop the use of innovative climate knowledge within local communities with such organisations as the Red Cross and Christian Aid.
Professor Leonard Smith, London School of EconomicsProbabilistic predictions without probabilities
Leonard Smith received his PhD (Physics) from Columbia University. Since 1992 he has been a Senior Research Fellow (mathematics) of Pembroke College, Oxford. As a Professor of Statistics at the London School of Economics he directs the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series and leads programmes within the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. His research focuses on nonlinear dynamical systems, predictability, the role of probability in decision support, and the implications uncertainty, ambiguity and ignorance hold when relating mathematical results to reality. He is a Selby Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and received the Royal Meteorological Society's Fitzroy Prize for his contributions to applied meteorology. Professor Smith is currently a member of the ASA Advisory Committee on Climate Change Policy (ACCCP) and a member of the Smith Institute's Scientific Committee.
Dr Florian Pappenberger, ECMWFWeather prediction and hydrology
Florian Pappenberger is an expert in uncertainty analysis for flood models forced by ensembles of NWP and climate predictions. He is currently working at ECMWF as a Senior Scientist and is visiting professor at Hohai University (China). He has previously worked at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and at Lancaster University. In 2011 he was awarded the Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists from the European Geosciences Union for his work on Hydrological Ensemble Predictions and in 2010 the Outstanding Editor Award of the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Journal. His expertise in flood forecasting, hydrological modelling and uncertainty analysis is documented with over 60 peer reviewed publications. He has consulted for the Environment Agency of England and Wales on probabilistic flood forecasting and also works with Industry partners. He is also a chair of the international Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Experiment project (HEPEX, www.hepex.org). Florian is currently leading several large European projects on water scarcity and drought predictions (DEWFORA, GLOWASIS), developing a risk culture for Europe (KULTURISK) and European and global flood forecasting (GloFas, EFAS). He also works on global river modelling, ensemble verification and the impact of the uncertainty in land surface processes on seasonal predictions.
Dr Rosalind Cornforth, NCAS-Climate, University of ReadingWeathering the drought: Building resilience in the face of uncertainty
Dr Cornforth has a PhD from the University of Reading and joined Reading’s renowned Department of Meteorology in 2005. She is Director of AfClix (the African Climate Exchange) through a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, and is a Research Scientist in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS-Climate). Her research is focussed on improving our understanding of the fundamental dynamics and predictability of rain-bearing African weather systems and she has authored several papers on the fundamental dynamics of the African monsoon As Director of AfClix, Rosalind has responsibility for leading ground-based initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa to help ensure that all climate-related policy decisions towards improving food security can access the best-available scientific information. Together with colleagues from other disciplines and other sectors (eg. NGO and government policy-makers), she has co-authored high profile peer-reviewed perspectives on building practical resilience in developing countries. She has worked as an Editor on the Royal Society’s Special Issue in Philosophical Transactions A on Water, Life and Civilisation and is currently on the Editorial Committee and a chapter lead author for the first Forecaster's Handbook for West Africa which will document forecasting methodologies and ‘state of the art’ scientific understanding. Rosalind is also an active participant of several groups concerned with improving predictability of high impact weather (eg. African-led THORPEX Africa WG; DFID-Climate Science Research Partnership).
Professor Andy Challinor, University of LeedsClimate and food: adapting in the face of uncertainty
Andy Challinor is a Professor of Climate Impacts at the University of Leeds. His research focusses principally on using climate modelling and process studies to understand food production and food security, treatments of uncertainty and managing risk, and climate-resilient pathways and adaptation. Andy is the PI of the NERC EQUIP consortium and Theme Leader for ‘Adaptation pathways under progressive climate change’ – one of four themes of international programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). He is also Research Director for the University of Leeds Africa College Partnership and Lead Author on the ‘Food Production Systems and Food Security’ chapter of the forthcoming Fifth Assessment report of the IPCC.
Dr Warwick Norton, PCE InvestorsThe value of probabilistic weather forecasts to the commodity markets
Warwick for the last 5 years has been Head of Meteorology for the Cumulus
Funds at PCE Investors based in London. Here he provides expert weather
analysis for the weather-related trading strategies of the Cumulus Energy Fund
which trades European energy futures, and the Cumulus Fahrenheit Fund
which trades US and European weather derivatives.
Previous to this position, Warwick has 20 years research experience in
weather and climate variability at the Universities of Oxford and Reading.
In 2001 he was a founding member of Weather Informatics Ltd which provided
probablistic medium and long-range weather forecasts and expert consultancy
to energy and financial companies. He has a Ph.D. from the University of
Dr Reason Machete, University of ReadingWeather forecasts and macroeconomic forecasts: a comparative study
Reason L. Machete is a Research Fellow in Mathematical Modelling for the Digital Economy at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Reading, within the Centre for Mathematics of Human Behaviour. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, London School of Economics. He holds a DPhil in Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos and an MSc in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing, both from the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, University of Oxford. He has previously been a Mathematics Lecturer at the University of Botswana and a post-doc at the London School of Economics. His main research interest is to highlight and mitigate the effects of model error in probabilistic forecasting, with a special focus on weather and macroeconomic forecasting. He is keenly interested in both the generation and evaluation of probabilistic forecasts, especially when the underlying dynamics are perceived to be nonlinear. Reason is married to Oabona, with whom he has twin boys and a girl child.
Dr Renate Hagedorn, Deutscher WetterdienstUsing or refusing uncertainty information in energy applications
Dr. Renate Hagedorn is part of the scientific and operational management division in the business area “Weather Forecasting Services” at Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD).
Dr. Hagedorn gained her Ph.D. at the Institute for Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany, where she developed a coupled atmosphere ocean model for the Baltic Sea catchment area. Subsequently she joined the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Fore-casts (ECMWF) in Reading, UK. There she worked on diagnostics and applications related to ECMWF’s Ensemble Prediction Systems, both on seasonal and medium-range time-scales. In
2006 she was awarded, together with colleagues from the DEMETER project, the Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award by the World Meteorological Organiza-tion. More recently Dr. Hagedorn moved back to Germany to join the German National Weather Service DWD, where she is responsible for developing and coordinating various projects in the area of renewable energy applications.
Dr Andy Morse, University of LiverpoolClimate forecasting and health
Dr Andy Morse is a Reader in the School of Environmental Sciences, at the University of Liverpool. His background is in Atmospheric Physics. He works on the impacts of climate variability and climate change on human and animal health. He is best known for his work on the impacts of climate variability at seasonal scales on health, infectious disease, through integrating health impacts models with seasonal ensemble prediction systems. He has been active in transferring these skills across other disciplines and impacts areas. Most recently he has started to work on climate change impacts on disease using probabilistic approaches to investigate the uncertainties in projections.
Ph.D. Atmospheric Physics, 1990, University of Manchester, UK
Professor Judith Curry, Georgia Tech, AtlantaClimate models: fit for what purpose?
Dr. Judith Curry is Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and President of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN). Dr. Curry’s research interests span a variety of topics in climate research, including issues at the climate science policy interface. Dr. Curry is the proprietor of the blog Climate Etc. http://judithcurry.com. Dr. Curry is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Professor Suraje Dessai, University of LeedsClimate adaptation: learning to live with uncertainty
Suraje Dessai is Professor in Climate Change Adaptation at the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds. He is the recipient of a European Research Council Starting Grant on "advancing knowledge systems to Inform Climate Adaptation Decisions" (ICAD; 2012-2016). Suraje is also currently involved in two large multi-institution projects: Water System Resilience (ARCC-Water) and End-to-end Quantification of Uncertainty for Impacts Prediction (EQUIP). He is an Associate at the UK's Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) and a visiting scientist at the Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation Unit of the University of Lisbon. Suraje has published 37 peer-reviewed papers in journals such as Science and Global Environmental Change, 7 book chapters and edited two journal special issue. He is currently a Lead Author on the chapter "Foundations for Decision-making" for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) Fifth Assessment Report and also serves on the IPCC's Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis. Suraje’s current research and teaching focuses on the management of climate change uncertainties, perception of climate risks and the science-policy interface in climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
Dr Jeremy Hess, Emory University Department of Emergency MedicineClimate change and public health
Dr. Hess is a board-certified emergency medicine physician also trained in global environmental health. He currently divides his efforts between the clinical practice of emergency medicine and environmental public health research and practice focused on the health effects of climate change. He is on the faculty of the Emory University Department of Emergency Medicine and has a joint appointment in the Department of Environmental Health in Emory’s School of Public Health. He also serves as a Senior Medical Advisor with the Climate and Health Program in the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.
For his undergraduate studies Dr. Hess attended Deep Springs College and Brown University, from which he graduated with Honors. He went on to found a youth AIDS prevention program in Thailand as an Echoing Green Fellow and was the inaugural Director of the AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps program in Providence, RI. He pursued medical and public health training at Emory University, where he was awarded a full-tuition Woodruff Fellowship in the School of Medicine, the Sellers Merit Scholarship to the Emory School of Public Health, the Emory University Humanitarian Award, and the Gangarosa Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in International Health. Dr. Hess did his emergency medicine residency at Emory, as well, where he received several awards including the Award for Academic Excellence.
Dr. Hess’s recent public health work has focused on public health preparedness for extreme weather events. He has served on several advisory committees for the US government focused on climate change and health and as a Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). Along with others in the CDC’s climate change program, Dr. Hess recently received the Presidential GreenGov Award for the interagency report “A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change,” for which he was a lead author. He is also a Lead Author on the upcoming National Climate Assessment and the author of over 30 peer-reviewed publications and assessments.
Dr. Hess is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and lives in Atlanta with his wife and two young children.
Emma Visman, Humanitarian Futures Programme and NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Kings College LondonUncertainty and understanding: Some approaches for making climate science useful and enabling direct dialogue between the providers and users of climate science
Emma has been involved with the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP) at King’s College London since 2006, leading the programme’s work on strengthening dialogue between scientists and those with humanitarian responsibilities regarding issues of future vulnerability. Her current activities include coordinating an exchange project between climate scientists and humanitarian organizations, with demonstration studies underway in Kenya and Senegal. In 2011 she received a two-year Knowledge Exchange Fellowship from the Natural Environment Research Council, focused on collating learning about approaches which support dialogue between the providers and users of science from across different scientific disciplines and geographic regions, identifying space for developing more systematic science-humanitarian dialogue, and engaging with two ongoing NERC-funded research projects, one on climate science (EQUIP) and one on earthquake science. Previously Emma worked for Save the Children UK in Iraqi Kurdistan, Somalia, Angola, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the foreign affairs think-tank, Saferworld, and has undertaken consultancies with a range of humanitarian and development organizations including UK Department for International Development, ActionAid, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and the British Council.
Liz Stephens, University of BristolAn '80% chance of confusion', or can the public make use of probabilistic weather forecasts
Liz Stephens is a researcher in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol. Her scientific interests focus on using flood inundation model ensembles to improve understanding of uncertainties in flood risk predictions. In particular, her work seeks to clarify how best to produce and assess uncertain predictions in the face of a lack of available data for these extreme events.
Reflecting on the usability of this uncertain risk information, Liz also aims to address the question of whether end-users of these predictions can actually make use of them. As part of the team involved in the Met Office’s successful online ‘Weather Game’, she has begun to unravel the mysteries of how to present probabilistic forecasts to different audiences, and whether such provision improves decision-making ability.
Liz Howell, Head of BBC WeatherWeather forecasting at the BBC
Liz graduated with a BSc (hons) degree in Human and Environmental Biology following which she began her career in journalism at the Nottingham Evening Post as a news reporter, feature writer and columnist. After moving to the BBC, Liz worked on regional TV news programmes in the Midlands, latterly as Output Editor managing all TV news, current affairs and TV documentary programming in the region. During this time Liz ran a major relocation project and led the introduction of revolutionary server based broadcasting technology for all radio and TV operations in the region.
In 2001 Liz took charge of the BBC’s News Interactive service for England. Working from Pebble Mill, she oversaw many innovative editorial and technical changes to content production. Her strategic role included attendance at all political party conferences, a variety of major Pan BBC contract negotiations and a number of strategic all-BBC editorial projects.
More recently Liz was asked to develop the BBC’s local weather portfolio and in doing so discovered her passion for the genre. She initiated the commissioning of a multiplatform project Wild Weather (resulting in 12 regional TV documentaries) which was awarded the Royal Met Soc Michael Hunt Award in 2010. Liz recently secured the commissioning of 12 highly successful BBC 1 documentaries on the 2012 drought.
Delighted to be appointed Head of BBC Weather last year, Liz’s role entails the strategic development of BBC weather output on all platforms – from local through to global and from online to mobile and IPTV. Liz is experienced in multiplatform broadcasting and communicating with audiences and is particularly interested in the delivery of science journalism in broadcasting. She aims to use her wide knowledge further develop BBC Weather forecasting and presentation – maximising the new platforms and technologies available whilst maintaining the trust, loyalty and engagement of all the BBC’s weather audiences.
Professor Paul Hardaker, FInstP, FRMetS, CMetSense about science: making sense of uncertainty
Paul is currently Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics. Paul is also Chairman of Sense about Science, a charity that campaigns for better reporting of science in the media, a Board member of the Science Council, a federal body representing the profession of science in the UK, and a Visiting Professor in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Reading.
Paul is a mathematician by background whose early research work focused on modelling and instrument studies in radio propagation, working with organisations such as British Telecom, the European Space Agency and the Rutherford-Appleton Labs. He later moved to the Met Office where he spent 14 years in a variety of roles including heading up an international consultancy on hydrometeorology, and the Remote Sensing and Observations Branches. He then became Programme Director for the Met Office's Development Programmes and latterly the Met Office’s Chief Advisor to Government, providing support to the Government in areas such as climate change policy and the civil contingency programme.
Following his time at the Met Office, and before taking over at the Institute of Physics, Paul was the Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society (the Learned and Professional Society for weather and climate). Whilst in that role he was a member of the Science Steering Group for the UK’s Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme and the Advisory Board for e-Research South. He was also a member of the Standards Quality Council for the qualifications awarding body PAA\VQSET.
Paul has led the UK delegation to several UN and EU technical committees on meteorology, he has been a member of the Physics Advisor Panel at the University of Wales, one of the Government’s Science and Society Champions, Chairman of one of the UK’s national e-Science projects, and the founding editor of the international journal Atmospheric Science Letters (ASL). Paul has also been the Interim General Manager for EcoConnect, a joint-venture between the UK and New Zealand Governments to provide environmental services across the globe, and for 3 years, a Non-Executive Director and Chief Scientist of a City company working in risk management. He was the Chairman of the UK Research Council’s programme on the Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) and for eleven years, until 2009, held a visiting professorship at the University of Salford. For five years Paul was also a Non-Executive Director and latterly Deputy Chair of the Board of NHS Berkshire West, one of the UK’s regional Primary Care Trusts.
Tracey Brown, Sense about Science
Tracey has been the Director of Sense About Science, a charity that equips people to make sense of science and evidence, since shortly after it was established in 2002. Tracey has a background in social research, and previously spent four years working on a European Commission programme to establish social research and teaching in the former Soviet Union, and a year setting up a commercially based risk analysis centre. Tracey has written about scientific evidence, policy and the public, for The Times, the Guardian, and a range of periodicals, including a regular column in People & Science and contributed to books on the subject, most recently ‘Successful Science Communication’. In 2010 The Times named Tracey as one of the ten most influential figures in science policy in Britain. She is a trustee of Centre of the Cell and MATTER and a commissioner on the UK Drugs Policy Commission. She sits on the Outreach Committee of the Royal College of Pathologists and in 2009 was made a Friend of the College. In 2011 Tracey joined the board of the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science and the Advisory Board of the journal Agriculture and Food Security.
Panel discussion 25 May
Public lecture 29 May
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