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CATS update

CATS e-News                     Issue 7,  December - January 2010/2011




Welcome to the CATS December - January e-news.

A highlight in December was an unexpected visit by a delegation of 20 senior personnel from the China Meteorological Administration. The delegation were very interested in learning about the work of CATS.
We also had an interesting meeting on Adaptation for Africa with members of UKCIP and DFID and our visiting fellow Simon Mason (Columbia IRI) also attended.
And before the snow set in we managed to have our CATS Christmas lunch on the Southbank followed by a trip on the London Eye!

Conferences, workshops, presentations etc...December & January

David Stainforth and Nicola Ranger attended the AGU annual conference in San Francisco 13-17 December. Nicola Ranger gave a talk entitled 'Revisiting the Generation and Interpretation of Climate Information for Adaptation Decision Making'.   

Swenja Surminski attended the Catastrophe Forum organized by the German Committee for Disaster Reduction in Potsdam, 18-19 January. 

A number of CATS people including Leonard Smith, Hailiang Du, Ana Lopez, Emma Suckling and Alex Jarman gave talks at the first EQUIP conference entitled 'Equipping society for climate change through improved treatments of uncertainty' held in Leeds 19-21 January. The talks included 'Robust measure of predictive skill and ensemble design' presented by Hailiang Du; 'Are pattern scaling methods useful to inform about adaptation strategies?' and 'Is probabilistic climate change information required to inform adaptation to climate change?' both presented by Ana Lopez; '(When) Are simulation models better?' presented by Emma Suckling; and 'Small-number statistics, common sense and profit: challenges and non-challenges for hurricane forecasting' presented by Alex Jarman.  

Leonard Smith, David Stainforth, Emma Suckling, Falk Niehoerster and Alex Jarman met with Arthur Petersen and colleagues from IVM, PBL and KNMI to discuss uncertainties in weather extremes, at the VU University of Amsterdam 24-25 January.

Ana Lopez was invited to give a presentation at a Syngenta-LWEC workshop organised by NERC. It was held in Berkshire 31 Jan-1 Feb. A follow-up meeting is arranged for March to discuss possible joint funding options between Sygenta and CATS.








Papers & other outputs

Papers recently finished:

Oreskes, N, Stainforth, DA & Smith, LA "Adaptation to Global Warming: Do Climate Models Tell Us What We Need to Know?" published in Philosophy of Science, December 2010. The paper was also mentioned in an article in RealClimate on 7 March 2011.

Fung, Fai; Lopez, Ana; New, Mark 'Water Availability in +2ºC and +4ºC Worlds' in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 369, 99-116 (doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0293). (Theme issue 'Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications' compiled and edited by Mark G. New, Diana M. Liverman, Richard A. Betts, Kevin L. Anderson and Chris C. West). Published on-line on November 29: Abstract   Full Text 

Barrieu, P; Bensusan, H; El Karoui, N; Hillairet, C; Loisel, S; Ravanelli, C; Yahia, S 'Understanding, modelling and managing longevity risk: key issues and main challenges' published in Scandinavian Actuarial Journal.

Other outputs:

A number of articles have appeared in the press with reference to Eric Neumayer's co-authored paper A trend analysis of normalized insured damage from natural disasters (co-authored with Fabien Barthel). These include an article in ClimateWire, an article in the Stuttgarter Zeitung 'Warum nehmen die Schäden zu?' published 10 December and 'Finding the fingerprints of Climate Change in Storm Damage - a Very Long Detective Story' published in the New York Times 4 January.

Papers in preparation include:

Recently submitted & in revision:


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


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


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





















Research progress and activities

Leonard Smith and Falk Niehoerster started a closer collaboration with the project of Myles Allen in Oxford ( In this collaboration they use the distributed computing environment of the project to test the robustness of results of Bowen&Ranger 2009 ("Mitigating climate change through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions: The science and economics of future paths for global annual emissions", Grantham Policy Brief, December 2009). The goal is to estimate the extent to which the probability distributions based on simulations with simple climate models (MAGICC) are robust when compared to results of using more complex climate models (GCMs). In the context of this collaboration Dan Rowland from Oxford joined CATS as a visitor.

Max Fehr, Pauline Barrieu and Umut Cetin continue their work 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.

Falk Niehoerster, Nicola Ranger, and Leonard Smith continue 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, Hailiang Du, Falk Niehoerster and Leonard 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 Leonard 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. See poster presented at IMSC, "SVD on ICE - On the linearity of climate change simulation with GCMs"





















Visiting Academics

Professor Keith Beven visited CATS for an all-day workshop on 9 December.

Dr Simon Mason (IRI, Columbia) made a short visit on 6 December and took part on the Adaptation for Africa meeting.



Where are they now?
This section has now been moved to our website - see Previous staff, students and visiting fellows.