Uncertain weather, uncertain climate

Doug Nychka (National Center for Atmospheric Research)

Tuesday 6th May, 2014 15:00-16:00 Maths 203


What will the weather be tomorrow? How cold was it 500 years ago?
The first question has a clear relevance to our daily lives and the
second is necessary to understand variation in our
Earth's climate.  Answers to both of these questions rely on
statistical methods that combine observations with
geophysical models to understand our physical environment.  Annual
temperatures many centuries in the past can be estimated without the
benefit of having direct measurements from thermometers. Should we be
skeptical of scientific attempts to do this? This lecture will present
statistical methods for scientific problems where observational
information is limited and characterizing the uncertainty in the
results is important. These methods, known as Bayesian hierarchical 
models, have become a mainstay of data analysis for complex problems
and besides being used in the geosciences have wide application in
other areas of science.

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