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CATS update

CATS e-News                                    Issue 10,  30th August 2011




Welcome to issue 10 of CATS e-news.

We are pleased to announce that Dr Roman Frigg has been appointed Co-Director of CATS. Roman is a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, and the Director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS). 

CATS/GRI had an exhibit entitled 'Confidence from Uncertainty: Interpreting Climate Predictions' at the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition, 5th - 10th July. There were over 13,000 visitors to the exhibition over the six days. Thanks to all who were involved in the preparation and helped out with the event. See below for media articles relating to the exhibit. We will be running the 'Confidence from Uncertainty' exhibition again as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science on Friday 4th November at LSE.   

Conferences, workshops, presentations, etc... June, July & August

A CATS roast was held on 10th June with Dave Mcleod and Andy Morse (collaborator on the EQUIP project) from the University of Liverpool discussing work on seasonal and climate models.  

Visiting Professor Keith Beven taught a PhD course on Uncertainty Estimation for Environmental Models at Uppsala University, 7th - 16th June. This is the fifth time he has taught the course at Uppsala; 20 students from 12 nationalities attended this year, taking the total to 100 students who have taken the course.  

Roman Frigg gave an invited plenary lecture 'Climate Forecasting with Chaos, or Chaos in Climate Forecasting?' at the BSPS Annual Conference, University of Sussex, 7th - 8th July.

Oliver Walker gave a talk entitled 'Reasoning about Unawareness: A decision Theoretic Account' at the Decisions, Games and Logic workshop, University of Maastricht, Netherlands, 7th - 9th July. 

Leonard Smith and Emma Suckling gave talks and taught at the  Monsoon School on Mathematical and Statistical Foundations of Data Assimilation at the TIFR Centre for Applicable Mathematics,  Bangalore, India, 4th - 23rd July 2011. The meeting was an 'international workshop on data assimilation'. Lenny lectured and Emma gave tutorials and led one group of students for project work as part of an inter-comparison experiment on data assimilation methods. Emma also gave a talk entitled 'Gradient descent assimilation for the point-vortex model'.

Leonard Smith gave an invited talk entitled 'Insight or Numbers? Distinguishing Climate Science from Climate Modelling' at the SPS side event Climate science and climate change: Epistemological and methodological issues, part of the 14th Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Nancy, 19th - 26th July.

Ralph Rayner gave a keynote talk to selected graduate students at Imperial College on 28th July as part of the London International Youth Science Forum. The LIYSF is a two week residential event held at Imperial College and this year had the theme Ocean Science: The Science of the Seas.

Hailiang Du gave a talk entitled 'Better data assimilation through gradient descent'  at the LMS/EPSRC Durham Symposium on Mathematics of Data Assimilation, 1st - 11th August 2011.

Leonard Smith attended the ICIS Workshop 'Verification, Validation and Uncertainty Quantification Across Disciplines' in Utah, 6th - 13th August 2011, giving a talk entitled 'Scientific Support for Climate Policy: Is a VVUQ analysis of today's models helpful? And where not: what then?'

Upcoming Conferences & other news

Professor Keith Beven will be visiting CATS for a workshop on 6th September 2011.

Alex Jarman will be attending the SAMSI Workshop on Uncertainty Quantification, North Carolina, USA, 7th - 11th September 2011.

Joe Daron will be giving a talk at the 2nd One Day Research Student Conference Human Behaviour and Climate Change at Cardiff University, 22nd September 2011.

Following the submission of his PhD thesis in September, Joe Daron will be taking up a post-doc research position in the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town in October. We wish Joe all the best for the future! 

Visiting Professor Arthur Petersen is on the organising committee of a workshop at the Lorentz Center in Leiden, entitled 'Error in the Sciences: Diagnosis, Prognosis and Rectifying Measures', 24th - 28th October 2011. Leonard Smith will also participate in the workshop.  

Henry Wynn is fellow in residence at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge until December 2011.

The Managing Uncertainty in Complex Models (MUCM) has launched a
re-vamped website. Please see

New co-director
Dr Roman Frigg








Emma Suckling with project students in Bangalore









Papers & other outputs

Papers recently finished

Beven, K. J. and Alcock, R., (2011), Modelling everything everywhere: a new approach to decision making for water management under uncertainty, Freshwater Biology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02592.x

Beven, KJ., Smith, PJ., and Wood, A. (2011) "On the colour and spin of epistemic error (and what we might do about it)" Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussion, 8, 5355-5386, 2011

Beven, KJ (2011) "I believe in climate change but how precautionary do we need to be in planning for the future?" Hydrological Processes, Vol. 25, Issue 9, pp: 1517-1520, 30 April 2011

Ranger, N. and Garbett-Shiels, S.L. (2011) "How can decision-makers in developing countries incorporate uncertainty about future climate risks into existing planning and policy making processes?" CCCEP/Grantham Policy Paper in collaboration with the World Resources Report

Reeder, T. and Ranger, N. (2011) "How do you adapt in an uncertain world? Lessons from the Thames Estuary 2100 project". World Resources Report, Washington D.C

Westerberg, I., Guerrero, J.-L., Seibert, J., Beven, K. J., and Halldin, S., 2011, "Stage-discharge uncertainty derived with a non-stationary rating curve in the Choluteca River, Honduras" Hydrological Processes, 25, 603-613, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7848.

Alfieri L., Smith P.J., Thielen-del Pozo J., and Beven K.J., 2011, "A staggered approach to flash flood forecasting case study in the Cevennes Region", Advances in Geosciences, 29, 13-20

Beven, K J and Brazier, R E, 2011, "Dealing with Uncertainty in Erosion Models", in RPC Morgan and MA Nearing (Eds) 'Handbook of Erosion Modelling', Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester, 52-79.

Buytaert, W and Beven, K J, 2011, "Models as multiple working hypotheses: Hydrological simulation of tropical alpine wetlands", Hydrological Processes, in press

Beven K J, 2011, "Distributed Models and Uncertainty in Flood Risk Management", in G. Pender and H. Faulkner (Eds.), 'Flood Risk Science and Management', Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester, 291-312.

Beven, K J, Leedal, D T and Alcock, R, 2010, Uncertainty and good practice in hydrological prediction, Vatten, 66:159–163


Several articles appeared following the CATS/GRI exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition:
'A Chance to Meet Real Live Scientists' The Guardian, 6th July 2011.

An interview with David Stainforth, part of the Royal Society 'Meet the Scientists' series, July 2011. 

David Stainforth was quoted in an article 'Can a Candid Climate Modeler Convince Contrarians?' in Scientific American, 19th July 2011. The article also appeared as 'Intrepid British climate modeler sets out to win over doubters'  in Climate Wire, 19th July 2011.

Papers submitted and/or in revision:

Nicola Ranger and Falk Niehoerster "Deep Uncertainty in long-term hurricane risk: scenario generation and implications for future climate experiments" submitted to Global Environmental Change.

Beven, KJ., Pappenburger, F., Cloke, HL., Wetterhall, F. and Dutra, E. "Hyperesolved ignorance: A comment on Wood et al (2011) Hyperresolution global land surfacing modeling: Meeting a grand challenge for monitoring Earth's terrestrial water" submitted to Water Resources Research.


Leonard Smith and Nicholas Stern "Uncertainty in Science and its Role in Climate Policy" in review for Royal Society Phil Trans A


Smith, LA, Tredger, E., Stainforth, D.A. &  Lopez, A. "On the Relevance of Model Averages for Science Based Policy" submitted to GRL


Baker, D. James & Richards, Gary "On the delivery of weather services and parallels for the development of operational forest carbon monitoring, reporting, and verification systems" submitted to Carbon Management. If you would like a draft copy of the paper, please contact Lyn Grove (


Young, RMB, Binter, R & Niehoerster, F "Limits of i-shadowing in a perfect model rotating annulus" submitted to Physica D


Barrieu, PM & Fehr, MW “Integrated EUA and CER price modeling and application for spread option pricing” submitted to Operations Research


Barrieu, PM & Tobelem,S “A new methodology for asset allocation under model risk” submitted to Quantitative Finance


Barrieu, PM & Sinclair Desgagne, B. “Economic Policy when Models Disagree” submitted to Econometrica                               

Maruri-Aguilar, H., Senz-de-Cabezn, E. and Wynn, H. P.  "the Betti numbers of polynomial hierarchical models for experimental designs" submitted to Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence

Bates, R.A., Maruri-Aguilar, H and Wynn, H.P. "Smooth supersaturated models" submitted to Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference


Smith, LA. & Du, H.L. "Parameter estimation using Ignorance" in revision for Physics Review Letters


Du, HL  & Smith, LA   "Improvement in Full Probability Forecasting at Seasonal Lead-times" in revision for QJRMS


Khare, S & Smith, LA  "Data assimilation: A fully nonlinear approach to ensemble formation using Indistinguishable States"  in revision for Monthly Weather Review

Maruri-Aguilar, H and Wynn, H. P. "D-Optimality of Sobol Sequences for Haar Wavelet Models" under revision for Journal of Statistical Theory and Practice

Giovagnoli, A and Wynn, H. P. "(U,V)-ordering and a duality theorem for risk aversion and Lorentz-type ordering. Under revision for Statistical Papers




































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