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Workshop Programme

for period 17 December 2012

The Mathematics of Extreme Climatic Events

17 December 2012

Timetable

Monday 17 December
14:15-14:30 Hunt, J (University College London)
  Mathematical approaches to improving climate predictions, interactive hazard warnings and public explanations. Sem 1
 

This talk will follow a welcome introduction and is part of the UK Launch of Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013.

Improving climate and weather forecasting models have come from particular mathematical as well as scientific and technological advances. One can identify some of the mathematical problems which need solving to make the next steps in improving these models. I would point to internal ocean dynamics, increasing extreme precipitation events, and longer periods of atmospheric blocking that cause extended periods of heat, drought and cold. Mathematics needs to continue to show how approximate data and models can be used for rapid on-line and interactive warning and advice systems for communities exposed to extreme natural hazards. Finally, perhaps the scientific and mathematical communities can do a better job of explaining in the public sphere the more certain and less certain aspects of climate and natural hazards, and the methodologies (eg statistical or reductionist). But they should listen to the public debate, not least in parliament, and constructively engage with the relevant information and by correcting mistakes; neither of which happens much at present.

 
Session: Predicting and Managing Extreme Climatic Events
14:30-15:00 Murray, V (Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection, HPA)
  Extreme Events and Health Protection: What are the Challenges? Sem 1
 

This talk is part of the UK Launch of Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013.

 
15:00-15:30 Gournaris, F (Securis Investments)
  A Financial Perspective of Extreme Climatic Events. Sem 1
 

The understanding and quantification of extreme climatic events (also) has implications in the financial industry. In this session we are going to look at the insurance and reinsurance industries and how they are affected by the mathematics of planet Earth. We are going to explore the methods and implications of adequately quantifying the risk arising from extreme climatic events, and discuss how a new generation of hedge funds invests in the insurance linked securities space, that is tied to extreme catastrophic events.

This talk is part of the UK Launch of Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013.

 
Session: Exploiting Climatic Extremes and Communicating Risk and Uncertainty
16:00-16:30 Rainey, R (Atkins Oil & Gas)
  Exploiting Wave Energy: Why We Shouldn’t Give Up Sem 1
 

The ocean waves are the last great unexploited source of renewable energy. Exploiting them would ease climate change – we therefore owe it to our grandchildren to look into this matter, for they will surely be sore at us for wasting all the oil and gas on limousines and other frivolities. Technically, wave energy is the most mathematical of the renewable energy problems, because ocean waves are essentially turbulence-free. It is therefore particularly appropriate for this forum - Isaac Newton himself and many of his successors have been interested in ocean waves. In recent times James Lighthill in particular, has been prominent for his interest in waves in fluids, including the problems of wave power.

The linear theory of water waves illuminates the subject of wave power – it shows how the capture-width of a wave energy converter (WEC) is inherently limited to a certain multiple of the wavelength, depending on the pattern of its wave radiation in the far field. And it shows how a wave energy converter must also be a good radiator of wave power. It also shows that the power of a WEC is inherently linked to the wave force on it, times the particle velocity in the incoming waves. This shows why wave energy is inherently more challenging that wind power – it is because average wave particle velocities are much lower than wind speeds.

From this theoretical standpoint, the present generation of WECs appear logical enough. It also shows why they must inherently be non-linear – an important recent innovation. And, perhaps, it points the way to a new generation of WECs, with radically better economics.

 
16:30-17:00 Spiegelhalter, D (University of Cambridge)
  Don't know, can't know: communicating risk and deeper uncertainty Sem 1
 

Mathematical models are useful whenever we admit we cannot predict precisely what is going to happen, for example in weather forecasting, insurance, nuclear safety, natural disasters, the effect of new medical interventions and, more controversially, in climate change and finance. Such models get so complex that multiple simulations of 'possible futures' may be necessary, which allow us to quantify chances of future events, which then need to be communicated to the public and policy-makers. But how good are these 'chances'? I shall look at the ways forecasts are provided and evaluated, and how we might try to communicate deeper uncertainties.

 
17:00-17:20 Hunt, J; Murray, V; Gournaris, F; Rainey, R; Spiegelhalter, D
  The Mathematics of Extreme Climatic Events: Panel Session Sem 1
 

This panel session is part of the UK Launch of Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013.

 

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