Alternative link
CATS update

CATS e-News                                    Issue 1, March 2010


Welcome to the first issue of CATS e-News! This will be published monthly and aims to give a round-up of CATS upcoming and recent activities - be it conference attendance/ presentations, papers in preparation or submitted, progress on research, new projects and appointments, etc. We hope it will prove useful as a means of keeping everyone in touch with each other's activities. Feel free to send any feedback to Lyn or myself.
Leonard Smith

Upcoming Conferences,
workshops, presentations

Leonard Smith will be giving the following presentations:

  • Using Empirically Inadequate Models to inform Your Subjective Probabilities: How might Solvency II inform climate change decisions?' to be presented by at Oxford Maths Institute, Oxford, 12 March 2010
  • 'Uncertainty, Ambiguity and Risk in Forming Climate Policy' (by Lenny & Nick Stern) to be presented at Handling uncertainty in science, Royal Society, London, 22 March 2010.
  • 'Getting beyond the statistics: Towards Quantifying the Geometry of Model Error' to be presented at the RMetS ‘Estimating/representing forecast and model errors’ meeting, 8th April, Met Office.
  • The Bayesian's Burden: Or Why Physicists Shrug and Statisticians Scoff' to be presented at the NCAS/NERC Earth System Science Spring Summer School, 9th April.
  • 'Can we expect to predict the climate when we cannot shadow the weather?' to be presented at EGU 2010, Vienna, 2-7th May.

David Stainforth will be attending the following workshops/ meetings:

  • Tyndall Hadley Workshop on emissions pathways at MRC office on Wed 10th March.
  • Tyndall resilience Workshop in Oxford on Friday 26th March. (Not sure if attending yet).
  • RCEP launch of it's climate change adaptation report, London,  Tuesday 30th. Lord Krebs and Sir John Lawton speaking. Dave is going. He can pass on an invite to others if interested.
  • Science Media Centre briefing on climate change, afternoon of Wednesday 31st. Various journalists will be talking - including Fred Pearce, Richard Black etc., and also Brian Hoskins and Alan Thorpe.
  • Martin Ambaum et al meeting in Reading on the thermodynamics of the climate system, 21-22 April. Dave can pass on details to anyone interested.

Nicola Ranger will be participating in a 'town hall' meeting hosted by the Wharton School (Howard Kunreuther) on the interpretation of long-term hurricane projections for decision-support in New York on 11th March.

Joe Daron will be giving a seminar at the Met Office on March 15th on the work that he did as an intern there, titled "Probabilistic Networks for Climate Risk".

Further ahead

Max Fehr and Pauline Barrieu have been asked to organise two sessions for the 'Energy and Emission Markets' stream of the EURO XXIV (24th European Conference on Operational Research), in Lisbon, July 11-14.

Several people (including Lenny, Dave, Nicola, Falk, Ana, Milena) have submitted abstracts to the 11th INTERNATIONAL MEETING on STATISTICAL CLIMATOLOGY (IMSC) in Edinburgh, 12-16 July.














Papers & other outputs

Papers recently finished:

Fehr M., Hinz J. 'Storage costs in commodity option pricing' submitted to Siam Journal on Mathematical Finance.

Carmona R., Fehr M. 'The Clean Development Mechanism and CER Price Formation in the Carbon Markets'. Journal details tbc. (Also published as Conference Proceedings in a Birkhaeuser (Springer) book.

Carmona R., Fehr M. 'Auctions and Relative Allocation Mechanisms for Cap-and-Trade Schemes''  To be submitted.

Smith, LA., Du, HL: 'Parameter estimation using Ignorance' under revision for Physics Review Letter

Ana Lopez recently finished the following two book chapters:

A. Lopez, Rob Wilby, Fai Fung and Mark New, "Emerging approaches to climate risk management" in "Climate change and water resources modeling" edited by Fai Fung, A Lopez and Mark New to be published by Wiley-Blackwells in the fall.

A. Lopez, "A case study of water resource management in the South West of England" in "Climate change and water resources modeling" edited by Fai Fung, A Lopez and Mark New to be published by Wiley-Blackwells in the fall.

Papers in preparation include:

Nicola Ranger has been working on what will be the 1st Industry Briefing of the Munich Re Programme: 'Aiming for 2 degrees: what does it mean for the Insurance Industry?'

R. Young, R. Binter, F. Niehoerster, L.A. Smith 'Shadowing the Rotating Annulus', in preparation for Physica D

Smith, LA., Du, HL, Higgins, S. and Binter, R: 'Neccesary Conditoins for assigning Sensible Model Weights in Seasonal and Decadal Forecasting', in preparation for Tellus

Du, HL and Smith, LA: 'Improvement in Full Probability Forecasting at Seasonal Lead-times', in preparation for Quarterly Journal Royal Meteo Soc
Binter, R and Smith, LA: "Establishing Skill in Long-range Forecast Systems", in preparation for Monthly Weather Review

Stainforth, D: "Quantifying and dealing with uncertainty in climate related models", a 2-page "box" in a CUP book coming out of the Copenhagen scientific meeting this time last year

F. Niehoerster, M.Collins, U.Cubasch, "Uncertainty in the feedback mechanisms of the climate system", in preparation for Journal of Climate

A. Lopez: book chapter: "Regional Implications" in "Solutions to Climate Change challenges" edited by Proverbs, David G , Hammond, Felix , Lamond, Jessica, to be published by Wiley-Blackwells

A Lopez
et al, "Review on probabilistic approaches and their applicability to impact studies"

A. Lopez
et al, "Climate Modeling information for adaptation: methods to quantify impacts of climate change and reliable information for adaptation"


Paper mill



Research progress

Eric Neumeyer and Fabian Barthel will be meeting with Munich Re (Peter Hoeppe, Jan Eichner, Eberhard Faust) on Friday 5th March for discussions on their normalization work (programme 5c).

Max Fehr, Pauline Barrieu and Umut Cetin have been working on a model for risk neutral futures price dynamics in the European Unions Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Historical price dynamics suggest that both allowance prices for different compliance periods and CER prices for different compliance periods are significantly related. To obtain a realistic price dynamics we take into account the specific details of the EU ETS compliance regulations, such as banking and the link to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and exploit arbitrage relationships between futures on EU allowances and Certified Emission Reductions.

Max will also talk about this at an Industrial-Academic Forum on Commodities, energy markets, and emissions trading, April 9-10 at the Fields Institute in Toronto.

Falk Niehoerster, Nicoal Ranger, and Lenny Smith work on Hurricanes: The predictability of Hurricane frequency and intensity is investigated on seasonal to multi-decadal timescales. Comparison and verification of different statistical approaches are conducted in addition to expert elicitation. The goal is to generate scenarios of future development of Hurricane activities for adaptation decision making.

Roman Binter, Hailang Du, Falk Niehoerster and Lenny Smith work on Seasonal to Decadal Predictability: The predictability of important atmospheric phenomena is investigated in seasonal to decadal (s2d) predictions produced in the multi-model framework of the ENSEMBLES project. Impact relevant indices like the sea surface temperature (SST) in the main development region for hurricanes (MDR) and the Nino3.4 index (related to the El Nino phenomenon) as well as the global mean temperature (GMT) are currently the focus of the analysis.

Falk Niehoerster and Lenny Smith work on SVD on ICE - Linearity questions in climate modelling: The question of linearity in general circulation model (GCM) simulations of global warming as a function of a increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is another focus. The assumption that climate response is "linear" is widely used and multiply defined. Indeed, the assumption of linearity is crucial for several applications of climate science including pattern scaling. The extent to which linearity approximations hold is evaluated in large (~2^9)) initial condition ensembles (ICE). These simulations consider the equilibrium response of HadSM3 to three different levels of CO2 concentration increase. By comparing the singular value decomposition (SVD) and the leading singular vectors of the three initial condition ensembles we evaluate not only the relevance of the linearity assumption, but also the robustness of the principal pattern of temperature change.




Funding opportunities

NERC have issued a call "Storm Risk Mitigation through Improved Prediction & Impact Modelling", closing date 25th March. We plan to submit a proposal to this. If anyone has particular ideas on this please let Lenny/Lyn know. For details of the call see:

The Grantham Institute and Department of Statistics will be submitting a joint application to the AXA Research Fund for an endowed Chair in Climate Change Risk and Uncertainty, for which we are proposing the appointment of Professor René Carmona of Princeton University.
Closing date is 14th May 2010.

Henry Wynn is Co-I on an EPSRC application to be submitted shortly by Dr Mark Atherton at Brunel University, entitled: Piezoelectric Bimorphs with Adaptive Performance.


Dust storm, Sydney



Arthur Petersen, Visiting Professor on our Munich Re programme, will be visiting LSE from 26th April to 21st May.

Mike Wehner from Berkeley would be keen to visit for a while at some stage. He's interested in and has done some work on hurricane simulations. Dave

Peter Rayner from Melbourne is in Paris for a few months. He gave a great talk at the RS on "Reducing Uncertainties in future terrestial carbon sinks: an approach using process models and data assimilation". He uses a perturbed physics approach. A little over interpreted but generally cautious. He would like to talk with us. There would be relevance to our interests in model interpretation, philosophy of climate science and Grantham more generally. It would be great if we could get him over before he goes back to Australia sometime in May. Dave.




New projects / appointments

Nicola Ranger is leading a project for the Adaptation Sub-Committee on "What would a good adaptation decision-making process look like for the UK?" to be completed by the end of March, together with Ana Lopez, Antony Millner, Gianni Ruta and Simon Dietz.

The NERC EQUIP project (End-to-End Quantification of Uncertainty for Impacts Prediction) is now under way. For details of the project see: We have appointed a new postdoc, Emma Suckling (a nuclear physicist by training but soon to become our project statistician!) who will be starting in the next couple of months.

Dave Stainforth's NERC RAPID RAPIT project will get underway sometime between now and October, with the appointment of a new PhD studentship on Relating Climate Models and Reality

Climate Change and the Insurance Industry (CCII): sadly, due to difficulties trying to fulfil the secondment criteria on this project, it looks as though we will have to withdraw from this project. We nevertheless hope to maintain our research collaboration with our Norwegian partners, and Lenny, Du and Falk hope to visit them for a week in April or May.

Noha Youssef, research student on the project MUCM (Managing Uncertainty in Complex Models) has been appointed as the Research Officer on MUCM/MUCM2 as of 1st April 2010.

Joe Daron has joined CATS as a (third year) research student, having transferred from Exeter (with Dave Stainforth). His working thesis title is: Extracting Decision Relevant Information from Climate Models for the Insurance Industry. Joe is funded by an ESPRC-Lloyd's CASE studentship. For the last 6 months he has been on an internship at the UK Met Office.

Kerry Emanuel (MIT) has been appointed as a new Visiting Professor to the Munich Re programme, March 2010 - February 2011

Eva Moratinos has joined CATS as a part-time administrative assistant, helping Lyn with accounts paperwork but also the website, database and other record management.

...and those flying the coop

Sadly (for us, though great for him), Reason Machete has left CATS to take up a postdoctoral position at Reading as of 1st March. Reason has been appointed to a five year position of Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Mathematical Modeling for the Digital Economy in the Mathematics Department at the University of Reading. The project is funded by RCUK Digital Economy and will involve academic partnership with the Universities of Nottingham, Cambridge, Reading, Exeter and Central Saint Martins. The Reading team will comprise Professor Peter Grindrod, Reason and a PhD student. Reason will be responsible for the Mathematical Modeling aspect of the project. There are 30 industrial partners, among which are BT, Microsoft, BBC, Oracle and Experian.
However, we hope to appoint Reason as a Visiting Fellow to CATS soon (no-one ever leaves completely ;o)






















Reason's last (official) day at the B717 whiteboard!


Round up: Recent events/outputs

'Translating Seasonal Forecasts into Year Ahead Hurricane Numbers: The Outlook and Some Recent Advances in ENSEMBLES' Presented by Leonard Smith at Environmental Risk Management workshop (NERC + Maths KTN), Lloyds, 24 February 2010

'Causation and explanation in our nonlinear world' Presented by Leonard Smith (with comments by Roman Frigg) at Barcelona Conference on Causality and Explanation in Physics, Biology and Economics, 18 February 2010

'Decision-Making with Climate Models' Presented by Leonard Smith, Roman Frigg, Seamus Bradley at LSE Choice Group seminar, LSE, 3 February 2010. Abstract

'Challenges in the Extraction of Decision Relevant Information from Multi-Decadal Ensembles of GCMs' Presented by Dave Stainforth at SAMSI workshop on Climate Change, February 2010;

'Difficulties in Deriving Forecast Probabilities From General Circulation Models and Efforts to Estimate Uncertainty in Future Climate projections' Presented by Dave Stainforth at “Nonstationarity, Hydrologic Frequency Analysis and Water Resource Management” workshop, 13-15 January 2010, Boulder Colorado and the EQUIP launch meeting.



Max Fehr has just been awarded the "Walter Saxer-Versicherungs-Hochschulpreis" prize from ETH in Zurich for his PhD thesis - title "Market Design for Emission Trading Schemes". The prize is awarded for research in insurance mathematics or related fields, by a consortium consisiting of Generali Assurances, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Swiss Life, Swiss Re, Winterthur Insurance, Zurich Financial Services.