IMSC 2019: The final day

With a half day of talks the IMSC 2019 ended today in Toulouse. It was again a quite warm day and not far away the record for the recorded french temperature was broken today. So it was fitting that the final day started with event attribution talks and covered among others heat waves and their attribution to climate change. The next session was the final parallel session and I stayed in the event attribution session. It addressed more events and discussed the limits of these techniques.

After lunch the conference officially ended at it was time to look back at the past days here in southern France. The conference was well organised and fulfilled the expectations. Good food, good location, interesting scientific content. The main topics were extremes and detection and attribution. It blocked quite a big chunk of the conference and pushed the other topics for my taste a bit too far into a corner. Biggest issue in the verification and forecast evaluation was the handling of uncertain observations. Apart from that the conference covered good statistical practice, some talks about data and many good discussions about statistical topics. So it was fun to join this conference again, even with the very hot weather. So let’s see where the enxt conference will be, in three or something years.

IMSC 2019: My presentation

The fourth day of the IMSC 2019 was the day when the heat wave finally hit Toulouse with full force. Around 40 deg C was what the temperature measurements told us and it felt a bit overwhelming. The morning started again with plenary sessions and talks about uncertainty separation and down-scaling. Afterwards followed the poster session in a tent outside, and it got warmer and warmer over time as the wind was not as strong as in the last days.

After lunch the parallel sessions for the day started and I chose the one on forecast evaluation. The first part was reserved for the development of new verification procedures and I had my own talk in this section. It went alright, I presented two new skill scores basing on the EMD and demonstrated it at different seasonal prediction applications. The second half of the session was on the application of verification procedures and showed many different fields.

With the end of the talks it was time for the social events. The choice was either a wine tasting on a ship or a walking tour through town. I chose the latter one and it was a challenge to always find shade to get not too warm in the sunshine. Tomorrow will be the last day and the weather will still be warm enough to be a challenge.

IMSC 2019: Halftime and the heat wave is coming

The third day is over at the IMSC 2019 in Toulouse and it was a day full of presentations. The first session was on the interaction of humans with climate and Space-time statistics. Main topics where the construction of indices to communicate severeness of climate related hazards to the experts and public and the transition of weather regimes. It was followed by talks about Detection and Attribution, another main topic at this conference. A interesting topic was the influence of the view of a scientist on the statistical results, which highlighted the subjectivity of statistics.

After lunch, which happened to be inside for the first time this week, due to the weather outside (I assume more thanks to the windy conditions, rather than the hot temperatures), the conference went again into parallel sessions. I switched between the space-time statistics sessions and long-term D&A, which covered among others the complex uncertainty structures of regression models and the classification of weather regimes.

Tomorrow will be a challenging day. So we expect something around 40 degrees and there will be a poster session and I will give my own talk. So it will certainly be exciting. Oh and not to forget, some outside activity is planned in the evening, in this heat certainly a special experience.

IMSC 2019: First poster session

The second day at IMSC 2019 in Toulouse and we started the day with three plenary talks on big data and extreme value analysis. Interesting topics around the reconstruction of observational data and how to properly do event attribution. After these talk an well filled poster session took place. Interesting posters on the topics of the last two days allowed many discussions on and beside the poster themes.

Capitol by night

Late ending of the dinner leads to nice views of the city

After lunch the next topic was changes of extremes. Again three topics showed how complex the estimation of extremes are in a changing world. Afterwards we split again in the minor rooms for the parallel session, where I attended the space-time statistics one. At this the topic was laid on emulators and the determination of significance.

With the end and a little break the final happening of the day was the conference dinner. Good french food and drinks allowed many interesting discussions. With this a long day ended and from tomorrow on we all expect the start of the heat wave.

IMSC 2019: Here we go Toulouse!

It is my second time at the International Meeting on Statistical Climatology (IMSC) after I have been on the previous conference in Canmore, Canada. This time it is hosted by Meteo France in Toulouse in Southern France. The main topic of the week will not necessary be the statistics, but mainly the weather, with the little heat wave which is announced for later this week.

But until we come to that we start with statistics. After collecting the badges, the conference kicked of with a look at Homogenisation and Machine Learning. Especially the latter will be most likely a big topic of this conference. Due to its increased visibility in its application in data science also the climate community gives Machine Learning a go and apply it to some applications.

After the plenary session on those topics it switched to three parallel sessions, which will be also the pattern for the rest of the week. I chose the changes in extremes session and went on to some homogenisation talks in the latter part. For the final session I visited the big data session, which showed several statistical approaches to look at larger datasets in different forms. The day ended with the obligatory ice breaker.

We will see how the topics will evolve over the week. Today I was surprised to hear topological approaches in several talks. In connection with Machine Learning some obviously see it as a big thing. And yes, since we are in France, I am looking forward for great food. Today was already a good start, finger food in many different versions was on offer during the session breaks.

EGU 2019: And here comes the rain

The third day of the EGU this year saw a change in weather. Instead of the well loved sunny Vienna spring days, the next few days will show us their grey and rainy side. Anyway, it was also a day which was not so overwhelmingly filled with interesting talks, so I used it more for meeting people.

It started in the morning with a splinter meeting on sea-level databases. A small group had a lively discussion on creating the future of databases in this field and it was fun to see what might happen here in the future. After that I had some talks with people on future projects and visited a few talks on ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.

The rest of the day I mainly visited the poster halls and in between watched a medal lecture on astronomical cycles. As there was no session of real interest for me left for the last slot (and if it was, I guessed I wouldn’t have fit into the room anyway) I called it a early days end. An EGU day without sun is quite different than with it. Usually everybody leaves the centre for lunch to have a picnic in the park, but with all the rainy intervals, everybody looked for a place inside the conference centre. As this might be repeated for the rest of the days, the EGU this year will have a completely different character than the last ones I visited. Let’s hope for the best. Tomorrow will be my talk and it will be certainly dominated by seasonal prediction.

German science scandal on “fake science”

Today the two German public television stations WDR and NDR and the newspaper SZ have published articles about “fake science”, which they describe in their publication as a scandal. They highlight, that scientists (among others) of German universities published a huge number of papers in “fake journals” and have visited “fake scientific conferences”. They give several examples of “fake articles” they have submitted to those publishers and which got without real peer review published.

As someone who works in science, I am used to these invitations. On average five to ten mails reach me every day for conferences or journals. Some seem to have fitting topics, some are just arbitrarily conference invitations where they basically invite everybody who claims to be a scientist. These things of course come with a hefty price tag, but compared to the regular conferences and journals they are often quite cheap. They promise a quick review and also a quick publication of the submitted content.

Why these things could be attractive for some scientists? Because scientific publications are important for every scientist, they basically work as an unemployment insurance. When you have enough publications per year, you have quite a good chance to stay in science, when not, you will quite likely lose your job or do not get a new one. What it makes the offers especially tempting for some, are that renowned journals often need a lot of time to publish the research. Review processes with unpaid reviewers often need a year or more. When you have a three year project, need a year to do the science, write it up for a half a year with many coauthors and then submit it with a review process of over y year, you have to be lucky to be able to put the paper into your CV in time for the next applications. Offers to have a guarantee to have something published, even when the journal is not famous, might be of interest, even for those working in the real science. That also some people use these journals to give their b***s*** publications a platform is of course even more damaging for real science.

So what can be done? Information is of course the first thing, this currently hardly happens and you have to get the idea by yourself, that it might not be good for you to interact with these journals and conference providers. Also we have to rethink our funding for scientific literature publication. Especially in Germany, the amount of money available for publications is low. When you remember that a paper in a journal might need several thousand euros/dollars/pound, especially when you want to have your paper published as open access, then money is key. Some countries like the UK have reacted in the past to enforce publishers to make papers open access after after a certain time. This would certainly help, because only reachable science is of long term benefit to the authors. As Germany has not yet implemented such a law it is time for politics to act.

The market for scientific literature and conferences is connected with high profits. The profit margins for the renowned providers are enormous, and so it is expected that fake providers get onto the market. It will be on the long term a tough fight to keep an eye on what is real and what is “fake”. Let’s hope most real scientists get this done and the working and publication conditions get better over the long term. Otherwise, science as we know it for 400 years is in danger.