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5th February 2016
In this Newsletter:

CliMathNet e-Seminar | Amendment to ReCoVER Feasibility Fund | Computational and Data Challenges in Environmental Modelling Workshop | SECURE Open Funding Opportunities | CCfCS Volunteers required for Cambridge Science Festival 2016 | Subscription Details

CliMathNet e-Seminar (Back to Top)

23rd February 2016, WebEX

Title: In Search of the Holy Grail: an Emergent Constraint on Climate Sensitivity

Peter Cox, University of Exeter.

Earth System Modelling suffers from a significant timescale problem – we need to find constraints on the huge range of projected changes in the climate system over the next century, but the contemporary observational data that we have relates to much shorter timescales. One way around this problem is to look for relationships between the more extensive observations of short-term variability and the longer-term sensitivity of the climate to anthropogenic forcing. According to the Fluctuation-Dissipation Theorem (FDT), such relationships should be common in a large-class of systems including the climate (Leith, 1975). In principle it should even be possible to get good estimates of Earth System (ES) sensitivities to external forcing purely by analysing the temporal correlations evident in climate observations - unfortunately this typically requires a prohibitively long time-series of accurate observations.

An alternative approach to utilising the constraints embodied in short-term variability relies on “Emergent Constraints”. An Emergent Constraint is a relationship between some ES sensitivity to anthropogenic forcing and an observable feature of the ES. It is called emergent because it emerges from the ensemble of ESMs, and it is described as a constraint because it enables an observation to constrain the estimate of the sensitivity in the real world. A number of Emergent Constraints have been found, for example relating to snow-albedo feedbacks (Hall & Qu, 2007), sea-ice trends (Boe et al., 2009; Bracegirdle & Stephenson, 2014), and loss of tropical land-carbon under climate change (Cox et al., 2013). As a further example, I will describe a recently discovered emergent relationship between the increasing amplitude of the CO2 seasonal cycle in the atmosphere and CO2 fertilization of vegetation photosynthesis (Wenzel et al., submitted), which promises to significantly reduce the uncertainty in one of the key unknowns in Earth System Modelling.

However, the biggest unknown in climate projections is still the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS), which determines how much the global temperature will increase if the CO2 concentration was stabilised at double its initial value. The ECS range quoted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) remains at 1.5-4.5K, essentially unchanged through 5 IPCC reports and more than 25 years of climate science. The recent “hiatus” in global warming has even led some researchers to conclude that ECS could be lower than 1.5K. I will show early results which hint at a relationship between equilibrium climate sensitivity and the interannual variability in surface temperature and the net radiative flux at the top of the atmosphere. The resulting Emergent Constraint suggests that ECS is unlikely to be less than 2K. This constraint appears to be robust to changes in the model ensemble (i.e. CMIP5 or QUMP ensemble) and to changes in the method of de-trending, but it is far from fully understood by the author (who will therefore welcome suggestions and challenges).

Instructions on how to join: Please join via the following link

If a first time WebEX user please allow an additional 10 – 15 minutes prior to the e-seminar in order to download the supporting WebEX software (when prompted to do so during the registration process).


Amendment to ReCoVER Feasibility Fund (Back to Top)

Next Feasibility dunding call deadline: Friday 29th April 2016

Following advisement from the ReCoVER Advisory Board on the 18th January 2016, the following amendments have been made to the ReCoVER Feasibility Fund.

Due to the high number of quality applications for Pilot Study Projects in past calls, we are now oversubscribed for this funding group.

While we will still consider all applications to the pilot study scheme, we are likely to only be able to fund one of the larger (pilot study) projects in the next round.

We therefore advise anyone considering an application to one of the larger projects to contact us at an early stage. On the other hand, we particularly encourage applications to the "Miniproject/meeting fund" and for "Outreach" projects - these can be submitted at any time.

Please also be aware that we have amended the Early Career Researcher fund to allow for salary contributions for EPSRC eligible researchers.


Computational and Data Challenges in Environmental Modelling Workshop (Back to Top)

10th February 2016, Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge

Background: There are many technology challenges which occur in the environmental and disaster modelling area. For instance, model resolution issues and warning systems taking too long, due to computational intensity. There is an identified need for consideration of the computational challenges involved in environmental modelling and this workshop will bring stakeholders from relevant communities together to share knowledge and ideas as to how these challenges can be overcome.

Aims and Objectives: The TGM is delivering this event, in partnership with the Probability Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment (PURE) Knowledge Exchange Network, with contributions from SECURE and ReCoVER . The event is supported by the Institute of Physics - Computational Physics Group & Environmental Physics Group . The aim of this event will be to discuss how the most recent developments in computer sciences and the availability of new environmental data may be harnessed to advance large environmental models, including models of climate change and natural disasters.

The day will focus on aspects of both models and data - with speakers from industry and academia covering a range of topics. Discussions are likely to include:

• Building complex environmental models
• Modern techniques in computational statistics
• The availability and quality of open data for environmental modelling
• Using environmental data to build new models
• How to use new technologies to collect novel environmental data

The event will bring together people from computational and environmental sciences communities, including those from different hazards areas. Discussion will cover ways of communicating model results to stakeholders and exploring new ways of accessing open data. Attendees are likely to be academics, industrialists, owners and/operators of HPC and cloud facilities and Research Councils.

NB: Please note, we are now at capacity for this event. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please contact Clare Merritt [log in to unmask] at the TGM.


SECURE Open Funding Opportunities (Back to Top)

Conference Funding

SECURE can now offer funding to members of the SECURE Network to help them attend conference (UK based or international) where there are presenting either oral or a poster. To find out more about this opportunity visit the website Funding section.

Feasibility Projects

SECURE will commission a number of feasibility projects for each year of the three year project. A maximum of £25,000 is available per project. The next call will be in February 2016.

Further information will be available nearer the time. In the meantime please visit the SECURE Feasibility Project Information webpage for interim information or contact Gillian Brown [log in to unmask]


CCfCS Volunteers required for Cambridge Science Festival 2016 (Back to Top)

Thursday 10th March 2016, Cambridge.

The CCfCS will be running an event on Thursday 10th March as part of the Cambridge Science Festival 2016. The event is titled "Everything you always wanted to know about climate science (but were too afraid to ask)" and part of it will involve a Q&A session with a panel for "Ask a Climate Scientist".

CCfCS intend for the panel to be made up of a range of CCfCS early-career researchers (post-doc or equivalent, or enthusiastic PhDs). To that end, they are looking for volunteers. For further information regarding volunteering please contact Emma Boland ([log in to unmask]).

Otherwise, if you’re interested in the Cambridge Science Festival 2016 in a more general sense, please visit the Festival Website for further information on the event


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