San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
During the week 23-27th March 2015, ICMS will host a workshop on Galerkin methods with applications in weather and climate forecasting. This workshop will bring together researchers developing, analyzing, and applying Galerkin methods with applications in weather forecasting and climate modelling. On Tuesday 24th March, 6pm there will be a public lecture by David Stainforth, London School of Economics and Political Science
Confidence from Uncertainty: Separating what we know from what we don’t know about climate change
The basis for expecting mankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases to change climate is founded in well understood physical principles. This basis enables us to make some statements about the risks and threats posed by climate change with very high confidence. Yet climate prediction also requires us to acknowledge uncertainties. Uncertainties in how the climate system works, uncertainties in how human society uses the scientific knowledge we have, and uncertainties resulting from intrinsic limits to knowledge. This talk will illustrate how high confidence in some aspects of climate change goes hand in hand with substantial uncertainties in others; particularly our ability to provide details of what future climate will look like at any specific location. The results of simulations with large complicated computer models of the climate system will be presented alongside illustrations of simple mathematical concepts - the butterfly effect and its lesser known cousin, the hawkmoth effect. Such results illustrate the scale of the challenge we face when trying to predict the detailed behaviour of something as complex as the earth’s climate. They also demonstrate how increasing the exploration of uncertainty can generate increased confidence in certain aspects of future climate change. How to quantify uncertainty in climate predictions is a grand challenge of science today and this is entirely consistent with overwhelming confidence in the threat to our societies posed by climate change. Responding to such knowledge is a grand challenge for our political systems.
David Stainforth works at the London School of Economics. He is a physicist by training and a climate modeller by experience. His interests and research span many different fields but tend to focus on uncertainty (and its implications) and how we understand and respond to climate change.
Doors open at 5.30pm.