CRESCENDO meeting

CRESCENDO is the new EU project doing similar climate model improvement work to the EMBRACE project that I’m employed on presently.

This was the kick-off meeting, which though I’m not directly involved, Pierre Freidlingstein invited me to come along as a potential post-doc for the project and get a feel for the group and the work. It looks like an exciting project involving a lot of groups, that has realistic aims and will get a lot done over the next few years.

Workshop on CMIP5 Model Analysis and Scientific Plans for CMIP6

This meeting was a combination of analysis of results from CMIP5 and looking forward to planning CMIP6, spanning all the range of CMIP activities, from sea ice to land use. It had a format I haven’t seen before, with each presenter having both a poster and a one minute ‘advertisement’ talk at the beginning for the two hour-ish session. There was a few terrestrial posters in every session, so there was a nice combination of things that I wanted to go and read, and talk to the presenters, and some other things to go to just for curiosity.

EMBRACE Final General Assembly

This was both my first EMBRACE meeting, and also the last one, as I joined the project just a year before it ended. Despite that, it was familiar names and faces, and I gave a brief talk about the work I did which bridged work-package 3 and work-package 5. It was great to see how my work fitted into the overall aim of improving climate models, and some of the achievements of the project.

JULES meeting 2014

JULES is the stand-alone version of the land-surface model that is in the Hadley Centre model that I use. Up in Leicester, (which was beautiful at this sunny time of year) this was a meeting with a small conference feel. There were lots of familiar names and faces there, including Richard Essery (my keyboard probably has slight dents from where I’ve googled ‘Essery Moses’ so many times…).

I spent lots of good time talking to Eleanor Burke and Sarah Chadburn about the PAGE21 permafrost project, which was very interesting. It was good to catch up with met office people too, whom I haven’t had a chance to visit recently.

The talks were a mix of model development talks, like that from the JULES crop group and Anna Harper who has been putting new PFTs into JULES, and some more results/science talks. JULES is a really friendly community that I’m happy to be becoming a part of.

Statistical methods for understanding and reducing uncertainty in process-based models of the Earth system

This meeting on statistical methods was fully booked (90 odd delegates) and justifiably so. Lots of great speakers who did alternating theoretical and practical talks with plenty of time for questions.

Lots of useful tools/datasets were suggested, including: the uncertweb elicitation tool from Lucy Bastin (project leader Dan pointed to other software they developed, which may or may not be useful, some of which he would use again), the Match elicitation tool (online); the Shelf elicitation tool (based on R); several people advocated MUCM toolkit for emulating, the UKCIP09 UK climate dataset; the lhs R add-on for latin hypercube sampling; lots of people mentioned DiceKriging, also used for emulation via R; Lindsay Lee talked about fast99, a tool for calculating the main effect and the total effect and strongly encouraged reading literature by Saltelli; and Doug McNeall used Paper by 53 to make his cartoons/sketches and they look awesome.

Peter Challinor gave a great talk which finally got me to understand latin hypercubes and why you’d want to use them.

While I was down at the Met Office, Andy Wiltshire told me about the JASMIN / JULES project, which sounds like it’s going to be brilliant.

A very useful two half days.

Royal Society: Next Steps in Climate Science

The IPCC working group I report and the Summary for Policy Makers report have just been published. Apropos of that, the Royal Society is looking forward to the new climate challenges. But inevitably there was a strong element of summarising what is in the 14k word SMP and some of the chapters of the 2000 page report. All that was very interesting, and some genuine ‘these are the questions that need to be addressed’ was addressed. There have been some major steps forward (sea level rise and cumulative emissions, notably) since AR4.

IAS Spatiotemporal Modelling Workshop

Particularly notable was Matt Rigby on Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from global to national scales and Finn Lindgren on Air quality analysis with space-time Markov models on continuous domains. Finn is the author of the R-INLA project which helps R users make use of Bayesian statistics.

Geoengineering at Bristol workshop

Today’s workshop (I seem to be going to quite a few at the moment!) was on Geoengineering at Bristol – to present current research and get to know everyone who is doing research on geoengineering at Bristol. It was funded by the Cabot Institute and organised by Pete Irvine.

Some of the interesting questions and issues which came up were:

  • How useful is the label ‘geoengineering’? Is it an approach? Or an intent? Or a philosophy? Or should it only really be applied to SRM?
  • Scientists can be reluctant to engage with the social and moral context, but we may need to do this.
  • Is there a relationship between climate and GDP – there seems to be a weak relationship between higher temperature and GDP growth, but is this causal or coincidental?
  • Extreme events are likely to be more important than mean temperature.
    Inequalities caused by geoengineering could exacerbate current inequalities.

And the take home message for me? Be skeptical. Question your assumptions.