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CATS e-News                                    Issue 8,  February - March 2011




Welcome to issue 8 of CATS e-news.

David Stainforth is leading the preparation of an exhibit at this year's Royal Society Summer Exhibition. The exhibit is entitled 'Confidence from Uncertainty: Interpreting Climate Predictions'. The exhibition is free to attend and will take place at the Royal Society, 5th-10th July. More details to follow! 

Other announcements

Our congratulations to Pauline Barrieu on the birth of a baby boy, Arthur, on the 28th February.  Arthur is pictured right at just a few days old, and 4 weeks later receiving his first introduction to the whiteboard!

Henry Wynn has been awarded the Box Medal by the European Network for Business and Industrial Economics (ENBIS). The medal is awarded annually in recognition of 'an extraordinary statistician who has remarkably contributed his or her work to the application of statistical methods in European business and industry'. The medal will be presented at the ENBIS annual conference, taking place in Portugal in September, at which Professor Wynn will deliver an address. Further information about the Box Medal can be found here.

CATS postdocs Emma Suckling and Noha Youssef both had their vivas in early March and both passed with minor corrections. Our congratulations to Drs Suckling and Youssef!

Esther Heyhoe joined CATS at the beginning of February as part-time administrative assistant, helping with website editing (including producing the e-news!) and accounts processing amongst other things.

Conferences, workshops, presentations etc...February & March

Leonard Smith took part in the Climate Science Day held at Capitol Hill, Washington DC on 16-17th February. The visit was an opportunity to provide Members of Congress the best possible access to scientific information on climate science when making policy decisions.

During February and March David Stainforth attended a number of events including:

  • Giving a seminar at Reading University entitled "Challenges in the Interpretation of Climate Ensembles: Why Good Statistical Methods Aren't Enough"

  • Giving a seminar at the Southampton branch of National Oceanography Centre. Link to abstract.

  • Attending a British Council organised 'high level Franco-British policy discussion on scientific uncertainty in Paris

Swenja Surminski gave a number of talks during February and March including:

Swenja Surminski also attended the workshop "Extreme weather events: risk management and modelling implications" held at Imperial College Business School, 31st March.

Roman Frigg gave a public lecture, "Climate Forecasting with Chaos, or Chaos in Climate Forecasting" as part of the Philosophy @ LSE series on 14th February. A podcast of the event can be downloaded here.

Henry Wynn gave an invited talk "Use algebraic methods to study complex experimental designs" at the European Centre for Living Technology, Venice on 14th February.

Leonard Smith gave an invited talk "Contrasting Weather Prediction, Climate Projection and Scientific Insight: Can technical aspects of Data Assimilation tell us about the Decision Relevance of Models?" at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London on 23rd February. 

"The role of climate change in urban flood risk management today" was presented by Nicola Ranger at the World Bank Experts Roundtable on Urban Flood Risk Management hosted by the East Asia Disaster Risk Management team in March.

A number of CATS people gave presentations at the 'All Models are Wrong' workshop in Groningen, 14-16 March. Leonard Smith gave a talk entitled "All models are wrong but some are dangerous: Philosophical aspects of statistical model selection". Other presentations included Emma Suckling and Leonard Smith's poster "Big models are wrong, little models are wrong: Which models are worth paying to look at? A case study of global mean temperature"; a joint poster presentation by Leonard Smith, Roman Frigg, David Stainforth, Reason Machete, Seamus Bradley, Emma Suckling, Hailiang Du and Falk Niehoerster entitled "Probably Wrong: Why model-based Probability Distributions do not yield decision relevant probabilities (if the model is wrong)"; Roman Binter and Leonard Smith's poster "Selecting versus combining imperfect models: Why a PC approach beats Psi-Phi"; Hailiang Du and Leonard Smith's poster "What is the Point of Data Assimilation when the Model(s) is Wrong?"; Keith Beven's presentation entitled "Testing hydrological models as hypotheses: a limits of acceptability approach and the issue of disinformation".    

Falk Niehoerster gave an invited talk entitled "Towards decision relevant hurricane risk scenarios" at the Risk Prevention Initiative (RPI) of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS). The talk focused on Falk's continuing research on hurricanes with Nicola Ranger as part of the Munich Re programme.

Trevor Maynard gave a seminar, "Modelling insurance markets: value of seasonal weather forecasts" at the Cass Business School, London on 23rd March.  

Emma Suckling participated in a 'Science Speed Dating' event on 24th March which took place at Harris City Academy in Crystal Palace. A-level science students from the school were invited to sign up for a number of 'dates' with scientists from different backgrounds and in different careers to learn about some of the opportunities open to them. Emma commented that it was a fun way to highlight the vast range of career options.  

Alex Jarman presented his recent work on small-number statistics and hurricane forecasting at the Grantham's PhD seminar series on 30th March.

Upcoming Conferences & other news

Leonard Smith will be giving a talk entitled "Insight or Numerical Engineering? The Role of Simulation Modeling in Quantitative Decision Support" at the Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation Conference, University of Pittsburgh, on 3rd April 2011.  

Visiting Professor Arthur Petersen will be visiting CATS/GRI from 16th May to 10th June. 

David Stainforth will be presenting a talk at the 2011 Colorado Conference on Earth System Governance, 17th - 20th May. The talk is entitled "Seeking and Extracting Relevant Information: Linking Natural Science, Social Science and Policy".

Leonard Smith, Arthur Petersen and Hailiang Du will be attending the Nordita School/Conference on Predictability and Data Assimilation in May.

Jerome Ellepola along with Jan van Schijndel, Nort Thijssen, Govert Baak, Abhijeet Avhale and Johan Grievink will be presenting a paper "Development of a synthesis tool for Gas-to-Liquid complexes" at the ESCAPE 21 Symposium due to be held in Halkidiki, Greece from 29th May - 1st June.

David Stainforth will be a featured speaker at the 31st International Symposium on Forecasting, Prague 26th - 29th June where he will be giving two talks.










































Papers & other outputs

Papers recently finished:

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

Other outputs:

Jim Baker had a letter concerning climate change published in The New Yorker magazine on 7th March.

Papers submitted and/or in revision:

Leonard Smith and Nicholas Stern "Uncertainty in Science and its Role in Climate Policy" submitted to 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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