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Climate Change Summer School
July 14, 2008 - August 01, 2008
Chris Jones (UNC Chapel Hill and U Warwick, UK), Inez Fung (U.C. Berkeley), Eric Kostelich (Arizona State University), K.K. Tung (U. Washington), and Mary Lou Zeeman (Bowdoin College), Charles D. Camp (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), Rachel Kuske (Univ British Columbia)
No Speakers Assigned Yet.
It is now generally accepted in the scientific community that the world is undergoing a significant change in its climate. Mathematical models play a central role in ongoing climate change research. They are the basis for all specific predictions of future changes and have been critical in elucidating the underlying physical processes. This has not yet translated, however, into the involvement of mathematicians themselves in climate change research, at least not to any large degree.
This is a three-week program that will incorporate a summer workshop for graduate students as well as an advanced brainstorming workshop. The program is designed to introduce students and postdocs to a set of mathematical ideas and techniques that are highly relevant to climate change research. This program is a follow-up to the Symposium on Climate Change held at MSRI in April 2007, and the Climate Program at the Joint Math Meetings in January 2008. It will further be aimed at fleshing out Dana MacKenzie's "Mathematics of Climate Change" resulting from the April 2007 symposium on mathematical challenges and opportunites in climate change research, whose development promises significant applications to improving our understanding of the underlying processes of climate change in all its manifestations.
Three themes will drive the program. These have been picked as being both promising for mathematical investigation and critical in climate change research:
Prediction and uncertainty
The issues of prediction and uncertainty bring the mathematical areas of dynamical systems and stochastic processes to the fore. Dynamical systems concerns itself with the functioning of evolving systems, and thus of prediction in models. The quantification of uncertainty can be formulated in terms of an evolving probability density function, which underlies the study of stochastic processes. These two mathematical areas are foundational in our approach to mathematical climate change research.
Economic impact and decision-making
As climate change research begins to have concrete impact, it has become clear that sociopolitical actions and decisions cannot be ignored, and models incorporating feedback to the climate of social actions are badly needed. At this stage, it is not as clear where such investigations will take us in the mathematical realm. Nevertheless, we see it is an important direction to investigate due to its importance and urgency, and the fact that complex, hybrid models will be formulated that will likely raise significant, and interesting, mathematical questions.
Incorporating and assimilating data
Data relevant to the climate is becoming increasingly available. The message from short range weather prediction is that incorporating that data into prognostic models is essential in making sensible predictions and robust models. This area of data assimilation is thriving in both the mathematics and statistics communities. Its adaptation to the complex climate models poses many deep challenges and it take a central role in the program. It fits well with the emphasis discussed above on prediction and uncertainty as it rests on the same concepts and calls into play the same foundational areas of dynamical systems and stochastics.
The program will be structured as follows:
Schedule 7/14 - 7/18 (PDF 132KB)
First half, July 14 - July 23: Short courses in Climate Modeling, Data Assimilation, Dynamical Systems, Stochastic Processes, Statistics, and Computational Methods which will be aimed at graduate students and postdocs. Students will also work on mentored research projects in teams. Visit the Climate Change - Summer Graduate Workshop webpage.
Second half, July 24 - Aug 1: Brainstorming workshop on mathematical challenges in climate science, including student presentations, discussions, informal presentations on generic mathematical stumbling blocks encountered in climate research; break out working groups and mentored graduate student projects. Students will be integrated into the work of the brainstorming workshop in several ways: they will present their projects aimed at defining a mathematical question in climate research, as starting points for further discussion; and they will be assigned a senior mentor who will work with them to draft the reports of each day's activities. Meetings will then be held at the end of each day for the students to meet with each other and share their insights.
This Summer School is jointly supported by MSRI and the Sea Change Foundation.
Information about the 2007 Symposiums on Global Warming can be found at the links below.
Important: Please see Travel funding rules and
Airline travel reimbursement restrictions.
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