Mathematicians, climate scientists and leading policy makers from across the world are gathering this week in Exeter

Mathematicians meet in Exeter to tackle challenging climate problems

Mathematicians, climate scientists and leading policy makers from across the world are gathering this week, 1 – 5 July 2013, at the University of Exeter and the Met Office HQ in Exeter to tackle the challenging problems that forecasting the weather and the climate bring.

Massive floods in Canada and India, huge tornadoes in the USA and the second wettest summer in the UK since records began has left people wondering what has happened to our weather. Is this the result of climate change or just a run of bad luck?

Around eighty UK and international mathematicians and climate scientists will meet to discuss how to reduce uncertainty in weather forecasts. Seasonal forecasts for the UK are particularly challenging because they are influenced by ocean currents, sea ice near the North Pole and the state of the upper atmosphere. Better quantification of these influencing factors will lead to more accurate forecasting. The delegates at the meeting will also consider whether we are likely to see more extreme weather events in the future.

Professor Peter Cox from Mathematics at the University of Exeter said: "Climate change throws up really difficult problems that cry-out for the skills of mathematicians. The CliMathNet conference will bring together policymakers, climate scientists, and mathematicians to confront the climate problems that really matter."

A single weather forecast requires more than a billion equations to be solved. Computer models are vital for predicting the weather and understanding climate change, but after decades of increasing computer speeds there has been a growing realisation that new mathematical tools are needed to catch up with, and properly harness, the power of current super computers.

The year 2013 has been internationally designated as the year of Mathematics of Planet Earth. As part of this year, researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Bath have set up a research network CliMathNet that aims to bring some of the challenges associated with improving predictions of weather and climate impacts to the attention of leading mathematical researchers in the UK. This meeting will be the first workshop of this network.

Date: 1 July 2013

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