Home > CATS > Events > Workshops > Understanding Uncertainty in Environmental Modelling

Understanding Uncertainty in Environmental Modelling

Date: 12-14 September 2017

Venue: Royal Society*, Carlton House Terrace, London  

CATS hosted a workshop for early-career researchers on 'Understanding Uncertainty in Environmental Modelling'.  The course was funded as part of NERC's Advanced Training Short Courses scheme and was open to all, although NERC-funded researchers and students were be given priority.  

Workshop organiser: Dr Erica Thompson

Course description:

Modelling and simulation are an increasingly important part of modern science, especially in highly policy-relevant disciplines such as ecosystem modelling, natural hazards, and climate projection.  Good practice in the use and interpretation of models is therefore vital, both for sound science and for informing evidence-based policy decisions.  The workshop will present an overview of model evaluation methods, statistical inference for model output, and the use of models in risk management and decision-making, with the aim of exposing participants to methods and insights available in environmental modelling and encouraging critical evaluation of the approaches and methodologies used in their own research.  The workshop will be structured around several themes, with facilitated discussion time and interactive problem-solving exercises, allowing participants to explore and understand the concepts presented by the expert lecturers.  Participants will leave with an overview of the key issues of uncertainty in environmental modelling, an understanding of how these affect their own research methods and where to find expert guidance and further information.  The course includes a poster session and practical exercises and is held this year in the inspiring surroundings of the Royal Society, in London. 

Feedback from the previous workshops:

"The workshop covered a wide range of carefully picked topics and has pointed me to the right direction to find out the answers to some of my questions."

"Useful for writing up my thesis"

"Friendly atmosphere"

"I have been in a few other workshops looking at similar topics but this has been (by far!!) the most useful."

"It was genuinely one of the most interesting and thought-provoking events that I’ve attended and I’m hopeful it will eventually mark a turning point in the way we approach climate adaptation studies at [institution].”


Here are the slides from each of the lecturers:

Erica Thompson
Liz Stephens
Ed Wheatcroft
Lenny Smith
Dave Stainforth

Journal papers exercise:

Estimating time-dependent parameters for a biological ocean model using emulator approach   (J.P. Mattern, K. Fennel & M. Dowd)
Ignorance is bliss: or seven reasons not to use uncertainty analysis (F. Pappenberger & K.J. Beven) 
Conditioning uncertainty in ecological models: Assessing the impact of fire management strategies (J. Pinol, M. Castellnou & K.J. Beven)
Uncertainty in predictions of the climate response to rising levels of greenhouse gases (D.A. Stainforth et al)
Galaxy Formation: Bayesian History Matching for the Observable Universe (I. Vernon, M. Goldstein & R. Bower)


How to apply:

Please send cats@lse.ac.uk an email with “UUEM workshop” in the subject heading, containing the following details:

  • Your name and email address
  • Your institution and position (e.g. PhD student, post-doc, etc.)
  • Your funding source (e.g. NERC)
  • One sentence describing your current research topic

Deadline for application: 5 June 2017


NERC-funded applicants will be given priority, but the courses are open to all.
Funds will be provided to cover most of your accommodation and transport, although there will be a cap on the amount reimbursed. Details will be provided once your place is confirmed. Please do not make bookings before receiving confirmation of your place as we expect the course to be over-subscribed. 

*This event is not organised or endorsed by the Royal Society