Department seminar by Francis Zwiers, University of VictoriaExport this event to calendar

Thursday, September 17, 2015 — 4:00 PM EDT

Detection, attribution and extreme climate and weather events

Climate change detection and attribution (D&A) research over the past decade has increasingly concerned itself with questions concerning changes in the frequency and intensity of rare, high impact weather and climate events (extremes).  While D&A methods appropriate to extremes are not completely settled, the science consistently indicates that human influence is responsible for observed changes in the intensity and/or frequency of temperature extremes, and increasingly often, in precipitation extremes. A recent further development is a gathering interest in “event attribution”, which is loosely defined as the identification of external factors that may have contributed to the intensity or likelihood of specific events, such as the European 2003 heat wave or the California drought.  This talk will compare and contrast differences in the questions posed by D&A research (what are the causes of observed long-term changes in extremes) and event attribution (what are the causes of the event that has just occurred), and in the methods that are used to answer these questions. Event attribution is challenging because of “selection bias”, the need for timeliness, and the difficulty in identifying relevant controlling factors, but surmounting these challenges, coupled with ongoing D&A research on long-term changes in extremes and seasonal-to-interannual forecasting, could eventually lead to reliable short-term climate forecasts of variations in the likelihood of occurrence of extremes that also take into account long-term changes in likelihood and intensity that are caused by anthropogenic forcing of the climate system.

Location 
M3 - Mathematics 3
3127

,
Canada
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