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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The fifth and last day of the 13th International Meeting on Statistical Climatology (IMSC) has ended and with it a great week here in the Rocky mountains. It started today with the first homogenisation session and the talks covered a wide range. Among this the worldwide organisation of climate data generation, the proposal of a new homogenisation methodology and finally an overview on future challenges for homogenisation. As I had myself worked during my PhD on quality control of data this topic is of special interest for me and I was happy to see this variety of talks in this field.
It was followed with a session on nonlinear methods. As it was the final day, the talks within the sessions covered a wider area, which was good. Finally the day ended for me again with a homogenisation session and as before, the talks were of high quality.
As it was the last day I would like to take a look back on the week. The weather was fantastic, apart from the last day, when the clouds and rain got in. The conference and many talks were really interesting. The mixture of so many different topics gave a great overview on the many flavours of statistical application in climate science. Many scientists, with different backgrounds, on various levels within their career led to a great knowledge exchange and new views on the topics. It was really well organised and so it was easy to concentrate on the good things of a conference. Therefore, the meeting was really worth a visit so perhaps again in three years at the next IMSC.
Day four of the IMSC in Canmore and once again many good talks to a wide range of topics. The day started with a downscaling session and covered emulators, handling of natural variability and perfect model frameworks. For me the imitation of complex results by simple models (emulators) have its interesting sides, but also frightens me a bit. I am a big fan of simple models and love to applicate them, but also learned that their results need a lot of statistical handling to deliver some acceptable results in their range of definition. Using them at the border of this definition or even out of it leads usually to inacceptable results. Sure, the simple models designed for the emulators are defined for this task, but it is still a very challenging topic and I am happy that some give it a try.
The following session of nonlinear methods, with talks about coincidence and network analysis. This was followed by a talk of responsibility of climate science (and their consumers). Apart from some common misuse of statistical methods it also covered the call for communicating more completely the methods and assumptions used in studies. This very important challenge is rather complicate in modern science. Reviewers ask for reducing the method section only to the necessity part and so in many journals their readers just really see the results, without understanding the many assumptions went into it to create it. Statistics is a game of assumptions and so it is essential that they and the exact application of methodologies are added in detail to the papers. Nevertheless, it is the task of the reviewers to ask for it and for the authors to press for it to get it in. “Open methods, open data, open models” are required to replicate a scientific result and that should always be the aim of a publication (and yes, sometimes this is complicate, but trying is what counts here).
After lunch break I visited two more sessions, both covering extreme events. They included many interesting talks with a wide range of topics. Tomorrow will be the final day of the meeting and it will include homogenisation, a topic I really look forward to.