News

Early Career Researcher (ECR) of the Month (Feb 2024) – Lily-belle Sweet

Published: 2024-02-29 10:11:03
Last update: 2024-02-29 10:11:03

By Lou Brett, University of Strathclyde

? We want to hear from you and your exciting research! Always wanted to make your research more visible? If you’re interested in joining the CompoundNET early career network, or even featuring as an EC of the month, this is your chance to ?️ fill out this form!

Our second Early Career Researcher (ECR) of the Month for February 2024, Lily-belle Sweet!

Lily-belle is currently completing her PhD at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research -UFZ Leipzig. Lily-belle’s research topic explores using interpretable or explainable machine learning to identify compounding climate drivers of agricultural yield failure. 

Lily-belle is currently using data-driven methods to identify climate drivers of impacts such as agricultural yield shocks, with particular focus on the interactions between driving events. Lily-belle is also one of the coordinators of the AgMIP Machine Learning team (AgML), which was initiated during a Short-Term Scientific Mission to NASA GISS in New York (Check out her blog post here!). Her most recent work explores the importance of cross-validation strategy when using machine learning on spatiotemporal data, for model performance and interpretation via permutation feature importances (a frequently-used tool for identifying drivers of climate impacts).

If you are interested in reading this paper further, please find the link beneath:

Cross-validation strategy impacts the performance and interpretation of machine learning models, Sweet et al. (2023), Artificial Intelligence for the Earth Systems, URL: https://doi.org/10.1175/AIES-D-23-0026.1 

Post edited by Pauline Rivoire. Photo credits: Pauline Rivoire (top image), Lily-belle Sweet (portrait).


From a Short-Term Scientific Mission to the Creation of a Community for Machine Learning and Crop Modelling

Published: 2024-02-27 12:24:36
Last update: 2024-02-27 13:33:20

by Lily-belle Sweet, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

Existing crop models underestimate the impacts of individual climate extremes on yields, but agricultural yield shock can also be caused by the compounding effect of multiple, more moderate, weather events. My PhD research, supervised by Jakob Zscheischler at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), is centred on the use of interpretable or explainable Machine Learning (ML) methods to identify interacting climate drivers of agricultural yield failure, both in process-based crop models and observation.

As well as using interpretable ML to analyse and intercompare existing agricultural models, ML can also be used to generate or gap-fill input data required for driving the models, to post-process simulations (for example, by downscaling) or to replace components of agricultural models in hybrid modelling approaches. These approaches could improve our ability to capture the complex effects of compound events on agricultural systems, and better understand how they will be affected under climate change. However, advances in this intersection of disciplines require both ML expertise and deep domain knowledge.

For my STSM within the COST action DAMOCLES, I was able to visit Alex Ruane and the Climate Impacts group at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New-York City from January to February 2023. The aim of the visit was to review the current state-of-the-art and identify opportunities in research combining ML methods with current process-based crop modelling approaches, and, in collaboration with the Agricultural Modelling Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), to establish a community of practice for ML in agricultural modelling. As part of the visit, we organised a one-day workshop at NASA GISS along with Ioannis Athanasiadis (WUR) to discuss these ideas and begin outlining our goals for the team.

My last day visiting the Climate Impacts group at NASA 

As I flew back to Germany, I was excited, but also nervous; would other researchers find our ideas compelling, and be interested in joining the collaborations we envisioned? The STSM was an incredible opportunity to learn from so many great researchers from multiple disciplines - this type of interdisciplinary connection and knowledge-sharing is exactly what I hoped to facilitate. As it turned out, thanks to the support and mentorship of Alex, Ioannis and Jakob, the community has grown and flourished more than I could have imagined.

The deep discussions and takeaways from the STSM were used to inform our planning of several ML-focused sessions at the 9th AgMIP Global Workshop which took place at Columbia University in June. Since then, the community (AgML) has been meeting every two weeks via Zoom and working together on coordinated activities to create carefully-curated benchmark datasets and robustly evaluate the utility of different ML methods for various agricultural modelling applications. In late January 2024, we organised the first AgML workshop at Wageningen University, with around 35 in-person attendees from all around the world. We are actively working on two collaborative activities, with several more in the early stages of development.

The first AgML workshop in Wageningen, January 2024

In the study of compound events, researchers often work with large model simulations, sometimes from multiple impact sectors. Having a closer connection with the crop modellers and scientists from other disciplines involved in the production of these datasets has widened my scientific perspective and facilitated my research enormously. I hope to maintain, and strengthen, these links between Machine Learning, agricultural modelling and compound events communities in the future.

Edited by Pauline Rivoire. Photo credits: Lily-Belle Sweet (top picture); AgML and Ioannis Athanasiadis (bottom picture).


Early Career Researcher (ECR) of the Month (Jan 2024) - Bastien François

Published: 2024-01-24 17:52:59
Last update: 2024-01-25 15:09:19

By Lou Brett, University of Strathclyde

Happy New Year!

Exciting news! We are launching an Early Career of the Month series, showcasing the incredible work of young scientists in CompoundNET. ? We want to hear from you and your exciting research! Always wanted to make your research more visible? If you’re interested in joining the CompoundNET early career network, or even featuring as an EC of the month, this is your chance to ?️ fill out this form!

New Year - new opportunities: We’re very pleased to launch our first Early Career Researcher (ECR) of the Month for January 2024, Bastien François!

Having completed his PhD in Applied Statistics for Climate Science at the Université Paris-Saclay, Bastien is now working at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) as a postdoctoral researcher. Bastien currently researches compound event probabilities and their evolution with climate change. Following a compound events summer school in Budapest, 2022, Bastien is currently working on the influence of climate modes such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on the occurrences of wind and precipitation extremes.

Another recent study by Bastien proposes a new methodology to assess the time of emergence of compound events probabilities and to quantify the contribution of univariate and dependence properties to the overall probability changes. The methodology is applied to a 13-member multi-model ensemble (CMIP6) to analyze wind and precipitation extremes and false springs events. The results show that the time of emergence of probabilities as well as the importance of univariate and dependence properties can differ from a compound hazard to another, and from a climate model to another. It shows the importance of considering changes in univariate and dependence properties, as well as their inter-model variability, for future risk assessments related to compound events. 

If you are interested in reading this paper further, please find the link beneath:

Time of emergence of compound events: contribution of univariate and dependence properties, François and Vrac (2023), Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., URL: https://nhess.copernicus.org/articles/23/21/2023/

Post edited by Pauline Rivoire. Photo credits: Pauline Rivoire (top image), Bastien François (portrait).


Workshop in Karlsruhe about the future of the compound events community - The CompoundNET and future directions

Published: 2024-01-07 15:35:47
Last update: 2024-01-23 17:43:11

by Katharina Küpfer, KIT

In November 2023, about 30 researchers from 21 research institutes across Europe and the world gathered in Karlsruhe, Germany for a workshop, hosted by Alexandre Ramos (KIT). After DAMOCLES came to an end in March 2023 (see earlier blog post), the primary goal was to define the way ahead in Compound Events research. The workshop resulted in a comprehensive agenda with an ambitious roadmap for the next years regarding scientific events as well as enhanced science communication.  

Kicking off with an outline on the state of the community within compound and multi-hazard research, all participants were brought up to speed on the community evolution from its beginnings to its current state. This was followed by many different engaging pitches by participants on scientific ideas, e.g. model evaluation or complex disaster risk types, for the future development of the Compound Events field, as well as pitches on existing and potential organizational formats.

New directions in Compound Events research

After an inspiring dinner with lots of room for updates and networking, the workshop continued on Day 2 with a discussion about new possible directions in Compound Events research. Within several breakout groups, different topics were discussed with respect to Compound Events, such as impact data, testing and validating models, bias adjustment methods, prediction approaches and communication of high-risk climates and events. 

Future organization of the community – Workshops and Science Communication

One breakout group dealt with future workshops and conferences – many different workshops, summer schools and even conferences were planned and lead persons identified, with a timeline ranging from late 2024 to 2026 and locations all over Europe. This paves the way for numerous exciting scientific meetings targeted towards different aspects of Compound Events soon to come. Stay tuned!

Another group focused on scientific communication and assigned roles for website coordinators, co-coordinators as well as an Early Careers Board. Communication channels and the structure of our website were discussed as well as plans made for future blog posts.

A new name and logo for the community – fostering science communication and network building

A new name was sought for the Compound Events community following the conclusion of the DAMOCLES Cost Action. In a dynamic workshop discussion, numerous ideas were passionately brainstormed and thoroughly discussed. The best ideas were put on X (formerly Twitter) for a poll – and we have a winner: CompoundNET (Compound Events NETwork)! A new logo was also created, which completes the new shape of CompoundNET:

Although an unexpected train strike forced many many participants to leave early, the workshop ended up being a full success. We now have a clear picture of what lies ahead for CompoundNET with many promising scientific events, improved science communication and even a rebranding. 

How to stay connected

On further news, we are also now present on Bluesky @compoundnet.bsky.social https://bsky.app/profile/compoundnet.bsky.social. Stay connected via X, Bluesky and this blog for CompoundNET updates. Additionally, follow the Risk KANkan website, mailing list, newsletter, and webinars: https://www.risk-kan.org/working-group-compound-events-and-impacts/

We are looking forward to the next years, together with your participation!

 

Post edited by Christoph Sauter, Pauline Rivoire, and Andreia Ribeiro. Photo credits: Svenja Christ (top image), Katharina Küpfer (bottom image).


End of DAMOCLES – how to stay connected with the compound events community

Published: 2023-09-29 13:51:55
Last update: 2023-10-09 15:24:16

by Cassandra Rogers, Climate Scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia

Sadly, DAMOCLES officially came to an end in March, 2023. But there are other opportunities to stay connected with the compound events community. The Risk KAN Working Group on Compound Events and Impacts aims to facilitate the development of an international, transdisciplinary network of researchers interested in compound events and their impacts. Going forwards, the two groups will join forces for future actives, such as webinars, workshops, conferences, and training schools.

This website and the Risk KAN working group website will help you connect with the compound events community. The links below might be particularly useful:

We hope to see you at an upcoming event soon!

Post edited by Andreia Ribeiro. Photo by Cassandra Rogers.


COST DAMOCLES final conference brought global experts together to work on compound weather events

Published: 2022-11-07 11:27:31
Last update: 2022-11-15 08:34:49

Blog post written by:
Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola
Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, COST DAMOCLES WG2 leader

European scientists and experts have co-worked on compound events in the COST DAMOCLES project for the past four years. The results of DAMOCLES were presented, and next steps of co-operation were discussed at the final conference which was organized in sunny Lisbon, Portugal.

The final conference was entitled “Perspectives and ways forward in Compound Event research” and consisted of two and half full days of presentations from Tuesday to Thursday 6th to 8th of September 2022. In this blog post, I highlight some of the presentations.

The conference started with a session on case studies of compound events. The main local organizer Alexandre Ramos presented compound events related to fires in Portugal in 2017.  Two representatives from a global insurance company told they are developing a model on compound events, which can be used when defining the insurance costs and payments after an incident.

The second session “Historical Events & Socio-economic Impacts” had presentations not just from Europe, but also from USA and China. Compound events are a global issue, not just a challenge for Europe. One very recent compound event was presented by prof. Miguel D. Mahecha – a fish kill in the Oder river in summer 2022. It turned out that the fish kill was due to algal bloom, containing toxin that prevented the fish from breathing. The algae need salty water to grow, which was available due to an industrial pollution upstream. Prof. Mahecha’s presentation highlighted that compound events are not “just” physio-chemical events but often contain also a biological component.

Tuesday afternoon had several training school presentations. The concept of DAMOCLES training schools was new to me. The latest training school was held for two weeks in Budapest, Hungary in July 2022. There had been a high interest towards the training school as only half of the applicants could be accepted. The training school in Budapest had research questions/themes to student groups consisting of three to five Ph.D. students. Each group had two to three supervisors from COST DAMOCLES scientist and experts. The groups worked on their theme and the goal was a joint scientific article.  During the Lisbon meeting, the summer school results were not only presented, but students also wrote the articles further. However, the training school had not been just about science but also about professional networking and making friends.

On Wednesday, I was chairing the third session: “The Drivers of Compound Events”. Keynote speaker Dr. Nicholas Simpson from South Africa presented the drivers for climate risks, which are hazard, vulnerability, exposure and response. As a case example he used the risk on food security. Dr. Simpson also highlighted that risks also interact, which makes the evaluation and management of risks demanding. The other presentation in the session covered drought and flooding themes. The fourth session “Statistical and Physical Modelling” consisted of a lot of mathematics and statistics. On Wednesday afternoon, we enjoyed vice chair of action prof. Bart van den Hurk’s program for activating body to activate brains.

On Thursday the last session of the conference wasForecasting, Trends, and Projections”. Keynote speaker Dr. Nina Nadine Ridder from Australia highlighted the reality most of the humans will face in the coming decades. She stated:

  • ”95% of the world population will see an increase in hot and dry event frequency by the end of the 21st century”
  • “63% of the world population experience a tenfold increase in the number of compound events.”

Another very interesting presentation was held by Dr. Indiana Olbert as she presented a statistical, hydrodynamic and machine learning modelling of compound flooding in Cork, Ireland. The research team also has started vast co-operation with experts of various sectors, such and social scientists and economics on flooding compound events for better preparedness as well as to increase public awareness.  The compound flooding is a real threat also in the Satakunta region, especially in the Kokemäenjoki river area.

Poster sessions were organized on both days. The most important posters for me were from the Baltic Sea area. Dr. Piia Post from Estonia presented the poster “The role of multiple drivers in forcing large volume changes of the Baltic Sea”. Poster sessions were social events.

On Thursday afternoon, M.Sc. Louise Brett from UK presented the progress within compound events research in the last ten years. COST DAMOCLES has influenced the publication of scientific papers dramatically. Brett highlighted that there is still lack of compound event research on extreme low temperature as well as on the continent of Africa.

The conference ended to a summary by the chair of the action Dr. Jakob Zscheischler. Dr. Zscheischler highlighted that COST DAMOCLES has been a success achieving its goal. COST DAMOCLES will still have a couple of workshops before the end in March 2023. However, science and co-operation in the field of compound events continues in various forms. Most importantly, not only European, but a global, active network is established on compound event research heading for true stakeholder involvement.


PhD position in data science and the dynamics of multi-hazard risk

Published: 2021-05-12 18:06:57
Last update: 2021-05-12 18:12:45

Do you want to contribute to the sustainable management of natural hazards? Do you want to work on multi-hazard risk science? And do you want to do this in a team of outstanding water and climate scientists? Then, please apply for this PhD position at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

JOB DESCRIPTION

You will work on research leading to a PhD thesis on assessing the dynamics of multi-risk due to interactions between different natural hazards. Risk models have been developed to assess changes in risk in the past and future due to changes in hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. However, they examine long-term trends, assuming no interactions between risk drivers. Dynamic feedbacks are poorly represented, and we lack methods to assess and quantify changes in risk over time. This project aims to build an evidence and knowledge base of how multi-hazards influence dynamic feedbacks between risk drivers and thereby influence overall risk.

The position entails: (1) developing data-driven approaches for identifying empirical evidence of dynamics and feedbacks of risk drivers and past multi-risk interactions, (2) quantifying these dynamics and feedbacks, and (3) developing functions that account for interactions between multiple hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction measures. The research will contribute to the development of a database of feedbacks between risk drivers. Methods include advanced machine learning techniques, such as generative models or neural networks, and short- and long-term time-series analysis accounting for spatial and temporal dynamics.

This research is part of a large EU-funded project, MYRIAD-EU. The work will be carried out at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at VU Amsterdam. You will work in close collaboration with our consortium partners, including the Max Planck Institute, IIASA, Deltares, and CMCC. The results will be used to inform decision-making related to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Your duties

  • collating empirical data on multi-risk
  • quantifying and modelling multi-risk interactions
  • writing a PhD thesis consisting of 4 scientific papers
  • working with colleagues of the project consortium and contributing to project reporting
  • contributing to the teaching activities of IVM


REQUIREMENTS

  • MSc degree in econometrics, data science, computational sciences, or similar (preferably with demonstrable affinity with climate, earth or environmental sciences) or MSc degree in earth science-related subject (with demonstrable affinity with econometrics, data science, computational sciences, or similar) 
  • good skills in programming and using large spatial datasets (preferably in Python, or willing to learn Python). Experience with High Performance Computing (or interest in learning) is desirable
  • familiar with or willing to learn Machine Learning techniques
  • strong quantitative methodological skills, in particular knowledge of multivariate statistical methods
  • The position involves collaboration and communication in a larger team of researchers and stakeholders from other disciplines involved in international research projects

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about responsibilities, qualifications and how to apply, please visit this link.


PhD position in modelling the dynamics of multi-hazard risk

Published: 2021-05-12 17:55:02
Last update: 2021-05-12 17:59:51

Do you want to contribute to the sustainable management of natural hazards, working on multi-hazard risk science in a team of outstanding water and climate scientists? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

JOB DESCRIPTION

You will work on research leading to a PhD thesis on assessing the dynamics of multi-risk due to interactions between different natural hazards. Risk models have been developed to assess changes in risk in the past and future due to changes in hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. However, they examine long-term trends, assuming no interactions between risk drivers. Dynamic feedbacks are poorly represented, and we lack methods to assess and quantify changes in risk over time. This project aims to build an evidence and knowledge base of how multi-hazards influence dynamic feedbacks between risk drivers and thereby influence overall risk.

The position entails: (1) developing data-driven approaches for identifying empirical evidence of dynamics and feedbacks of risk drivers and past multi-risk interactions, (2) quantifying these dynamics and feedbacks, and (3) developing functions that account for interactions between multiple hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction measures. The research will contribute to the development of a database of feedbacks between risk drivers. Methods include advanced machine learning techniques, such as generative models or neural networks, and short- and long-term time-series analysis accounting for spatial and temporal dynamics.

This research is part of a large EU-funded project, MYRIAD-EU. The work will be carried out at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at VU Amsterdam. You will work in close collaboration with our consortium partners, including the Max Planck Institute, IIASA, Deltares, and CMCC. The results will be used to inform decision-making related to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Your duties

  • collating empirical data on multi-risk
  • quantifying and modelling multi-risk interactions
  • writing a PhD thesis consisting of 4 scientific papers
  • working with colleagues of the project consortium and contributing to project reporting
  • contributing to the teaching activities of IVM


REQUIREMENTS

  • MSc degree in econometrics, data science, computational sciences, or similar (preferably with demonstrable affinity with climate, earth or environmental sciences) or MSc degree in earth science-related subject (with demonstrable affinity with econometrics, data science, computational sciences, or similar) 
  • good skills in programming and using large spatial datasets (preferably in Python, or willing to learn Python). Experience with High Performance Computing (or interest in learning) is desirable
  • familiar with or willing to learn Machine Learning techniques
  • strong quantitative methodological skills, in particular knowledge of multivariate statistical methods
  • The position involves collaboration and communication in a larger team of researchers and stakeholders from other disciplines involved in international research projects

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about responsibilities, qualifications and how to apply, please visit this link.


Inter-journal Special Issue on compound events

Published: 2020-02-21 10:06:51
Last update: 2022-11-15 08:35:35

We are happy to announce the inter-journal Special Issue (SI) on compound events in the EGU journals HESS, NHESS, BG and ESD. By including these four journals, this SI will cover research on compound events in a wide range of disciplines within Earth system science. 

Compound weather and climate events refer to combinations of multiple weather and climate drivers and/or hazards that lead to potentially large impacts. Compound events encompass a highly diverse set of events including concurrent climate extremes but also an array of nonstandard high-impact events. Consequently, research on compound events requires expertise from a variety of disciplines such as climate science, hydrology, impact modelling, engineering, and statistics, among others. The European COST Action DAMOCLES provides a platform for compound event research and for generating synergies between the different research domains. This inter-journal special issue will serve as an outlet for the work within DAMOCLES and aims to advance our understanding of different aspects of compound events, including present-day and future risk assessments of such events, modelling of individual compound events, bottom-up approaches to identify new types of compound events, and novel model evaluation techniques. It is open for all submissions within its scope. 

Submission for this SI will be accepted from 1.3.20 onward, and the SI will be open until 28.2.21. Make sure to select the correct special issue during the registration process of your submission.. 

Please refer to the Aims & Scope of the participating journals to see which journal is the best fit for your work: HESS / NHESS / BG / ESD

All papers will be open access.

This SI complements the ongoing SI in the journal Weather and Climate Extremes, which has a focus on the weather and climate elements that contribute to compound events.


PhD position: Geomorphic hazards and compound events in Africa

Published: 2020-02-07 08:56:29
Last update: 2020-02-07 08:56:29

Presentation

The Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) seek for a motivated candidate for a new PhD position. The successful candidate will be advised by Dr. Olivier Dewitte and Dr. François Kervyn from RMCA and Prof. Dr. Wim Thiery from VUB. The research will be carried out in close collaboration with Dr. Nicolas d’Oreye (ECGS/MNHN, Luxembourg). Wide opportunities for collaboration exist with research institutions in close proximity.

The research group GeoRisKA of RMCA has its research activities in the fields of geology, geomorphology, natural hazards and risk assessment. Most of its study areas are located in Central Africa. Remote sensing, GIS, and field work are used to support the research as well as for assisting in thematic mapping. The BCLIMATE group at VUB employs global climate modelling, land surface modelling, field observations and data analysis to study climate change and extreme events (notably extreme precipitation and heatwaves) and has recently started a new research line on compound events.

Project description

Geomorphic hazards such as landslides and flash floods often result from a combination of interacting physical and anthropogenic processes across multiple spatial and temporal scales. The combination of processes (drivers and hazards) leading to a significant impact is referred to as a ‘compound event’. This research aims to unravel the climate, earth and landscape signatures in the patterns of geomorphic hazards in tropical climates and assess the timing of the related compound events. The region of interest is the western branch of the East African Rift, a region of various tropical climates prone to geomorphic hazards where environment changes are important.

Key to this research project will be the development of an unprecedented inventory of geomorphic hazards with accurate detection and timing. This will be done by developing a method that combines radar and optical open-access satellite remote sensing adapted for frequently cloud-covered climates. The method will be validated against citizen-based field information. Machine learning methods will be used for both the remote sensing part and the analysis of the patterns of the hazards.

More information

For more information about responsibilities, qualifications and how to apply, please visit this link.


Announcing the Risk KAN: Compound Events networking group

Published: 2020-02-03 08:11:57
Last update: 2022-11-15 08:35:46

The motivation for the "Knowledge Action Network on Emergent Risks and Extreme Events", a.k.a. the Risk KAN, is that complex, interacting, and poorly understood risks related to extreme weather and climate events endanger the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The KAN is therefore imagined as a hub for sharing ideas and opportunities across countries and disciplines, with the aim of incubating projects that identify and better understand the root causes of these risks. The KAN includes multiple dimensions associated with extreme weather and climate events, from paleoclimatic and modeling evidence, to infrastructure and insurance systems, to compound events. Within the overall KAN are sub-networks for each of these focus areas.

The Compound Events group is still spinning up, but already comprises several dozen researchers spanning career stages and disciplines. Our objectives are for the group to serve as a directory, bulletin board, idea-exchange space, and social network (e.g., through meet-ups during conferences). All information is posted on our master spreadsheet. If you're interested in staying connected, please add yourself there, join the general Risk KAN mailing list, and keep an eye out for more developments under this initiative!

on behalf of Colin Raymond and Kai Kornhuber, lead organizers


Dissemination of identification of DAMOCLES Stakeholder Network

Published: 2019-11-04 16:40:32
Last update: 2019-11-04 16:40:32

DAMOCLES COST Action on Compound Weather Events aims to establish and coordinate a network of previously unconnected communities including climate scientists, hydrologists, impact modelers, risk modelers, statisticians and stakeholders. WG 2 connects the scientific network developed through the Action with a network of stakeholders for whom Compound Events are important in decision-making. One of the first activities is to identify the stakeholder network already present in the action and to supplement this to match the action’s scientific modeling expertise. In this presentation the identified stakeholder network of the DAMOCLES will be presented with the aim to continue the discussion of the Prague and Berlin meetings on how to foster collaboration within our COST Action.

Bio: Dimitra Theochari is an architect and landscape architect with international experience in Nature-based Solutions projects of different scales the past eight years as part of Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl and Turenscape with more than 55 projects in 15 countries. Her research work includes participation in COST Actions and Horizon 2020 programs focused on topics of Circular City, Nature-based Solutions, Urban Agriculture, Restorative Sustainability and Compound Weather Events. Her expertise lies in large scale masterplan implementation of innovative and complex NbS practices in an international context. Currently she works as a project manager at MSB Landscape Architects in Hamburg


Faculty position at Loughborough

Published: 2019-10-08 07:31:12
Last update: 2019-10-08 07:32:57

There is a faculty (i.e. open ended academic) position at Loughborough going.  Loughborough is consistently in the 10 best university in the UK by recent rankings, often up to 5th, and we think it's a friendly and academically exciting place that produces world-leading environmental science.

The job advert for a 'Lecturer' - translation from UK terminology - this would be called (entry-level) 'Professor' in many other countries.  The lectureship is in Geography and our head of department has stressed to us that this can be in either human or physical geography: a couple of quotes below (bold is my addition).

"The position is broad"

"We would especially welcome interest in the climate-energy-development nexus, which might bridge physical and human geography through wider considerations of sustainability and resilience."

My personal belief is that the broad scope of interest is genuine, and that early career scientists in the DAMOCLES network could be of interest e.g. with impact-centric compound methods spanning from physical science to human considerations, and with a potential focus on resilience.

Informal enquires to our head of Geography please - Louise Holt (l.holt@lboro.ac.uk), although I'd also be happy to chat (j.hillier@lboro.ac.uk).

For more information please visit: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/join-us/outstanding/social-sciences-humanities/

by John Hillier


Summary: Workshop on Correlated Extreme Events

Published: 2019-06-06 05:20:49
Last update: 2020-02-21 10:09:06

Lead Organizers: Colin Raymond, Radley Horton

Steering Committee: Amir AghaKouchak, Olivia Martius, Thomas Wahl, Jakob Zscheischler, Suzana Camargo, Alex Ruane, Adam Sobel, Michael Oppenheimer, Noah Diffenbaugh, Sonia Seneviratne

This workshop took place at Columbia University (New York, USA) on May 28-31. It was designed to bring together the communities of researchers studying extreme events connected to each other through some physical mechanism. A particular aim was to draw on core disciplines that have used correlated frameworks – for example, multivariate extremes in the hydrological community, or sequential and contingent extremes in the natural-hazards community — and thus to build a more integrated sense of the importance of ‘correlation’ or ‘compounding’ across all climate extremes. Exploring the current thinking and future directions of how to optimally conduct impacts-driven correlated-extremes research was another major theme. The first sessions were structured around a division of events into compound/multivariate, concurrent, and sequential or persistent types, with the latter sessions aiming to integrate these into traditional disciplines of study (e.g. drought or tropical cyclones) as well as into broader societal decision-making.

Approximately 175 people attended the workshop, representing 20 countries. About 2/3 were climate scientists, the remainder being social scientists, company representatives, or government officials. A total of 90 presentations (42 talks and 48 posters) were presented, including 44 by women, 40 by early-career researchers, and 7 by developing-country researchers. The website contains links to the full video recordings of the workshop, and to many of the slides and poster pdfs.

Two keynotes underscored the growing prominence of correlated thinking for hazards that can be understood as resulting from multiple connected drivers, and the simultaneous need to recognize that climate information is most useful to practitioners when generated, packaged, and presented in particular ways. Connection (or correlation, if the linkage is physically based) raises the likelihood that two hazardous events will occur simultaneously or within a short window of time, and these correlation coefficients are themselves variable with climate change (e.g. the intensifying interaction between continental drought and heat). From an impacts perspective, self-consistent ‘storylines’ are often preferable to overlapping sets of probabilities, and specific thresholds often mark the need for qualitative changes in strategy. Additionally, a particular adaptation measure’s usefulness is best measured by the ease with which it can be enhanced in the future, and the complexity and cost with which it is associated, rather than merely its effectiveness in the climate realm over some evaluation period. 

The first several sessions covered recent physical-science advances in multivariate (which we termed 'compound') and concurrent extremes, expanding on topics covered in a 2017 WCRP-sponsored workshop. Major themes included the nuanced and sometimes non-monotonic effects across combinations of variables, especially under climate change where conditions will soon be far from 20th-century baselines. Several speakers described the necessity of sophisticated modeling, due to the poor spatial coverage and temporal record of observed variables other than temperature and precipitation, as well as the rarity of certain events. Talks ranged from statistical modeling techniques to fluvial-pluvial flooding to more-exotic combinations of drivers, such as tropical-cyclone winds buffeting the drought-stricken Iberian Peninsula and exacerbating wildfires. The Katia-Irma-Jose sequence of Atlantic tropical cyclones was cited as encapsulating how ‘types’ of correlation are often more a matter of perspective or convenience than a physically meaningful distinction. In the mid-latitudes, recurrent Rossby waves were discussed as contributing strongly to persistent and geographically specific summer heat and extratropical cyclones, though the ultimate origin of these wave patterns remains opaque.

The second day moved into other areas, such as sequences of the same or different types of event, or exceptionally persistent events. Projected increases in persistence were revealed for U.S. temperature/air pollution compound episodes and for mid-latitude consecutive precipitation days. The importance of conducting such assessments with regard to seasonal, subregional, and meteorological conditions, as appropriate for the processes underlying a given correlated extreme, was emphasized.

Splitting into eight breakout groups provided the opportunity for diverse crowdsourced identification of themes, among which were the potential benefits of closer collaboration with engineering organizations and the need for both climate scientists and policy-makers to use metrics that accurately reflect societal impacts and values.

Two final sessions considered a variety of perspectives on correlated extremes from sectoral experts, and estimates of how these affect systemic risk to global interconnected networks such as food, business supply chains, and ecology. The complex nature of these systems can either exacerbate or buffer shocks from correlated extremes, depending largely on the human-management side of the equation. A few presentations gave hope for increased predictability, such as by highlighting the important role played by ENSO cycles in modulating concurrent crop failures, or by increasing the utility of climate information — such as through learning from water managers that identifying types of years which lie within the current climate space, but for which there are no good historical analogues, is a valuable piece of data for them. Where, when, and on whom the impacts of correlated extremes fall are all telling predictors of their severity, with vulnerability often being compound in a demographic sense as well as a physical one. There was often a two-sides-of-the-same-coin feel to the discussion; for example, in the realization that nonlinearity of impacts is nearly universal, but that it derives in some cases primarily from a physical response (waterlogged soil becoming more susceptible to flooding from subsequent rain), while in other cases from a societal inability to muster enough financial or political resources in the face of repeated extreme events.

An overarching conclusion of the workshop was that risk management requires knowledge of the full spectrum of possibilities, organized into a coherent framework that is digestible by impacts decision-makers through their normal deliberation processes. Correlated extremes are rarely (if ever) incorporated into current policy guidelines for infrastructure, development, etc., indicating that significant effort will be required to translate even our existing scientific understanding. However, a positive realization was that minor but frequent updates to guidelines are not only more politically feasible, but operationally desirable in terms of being able to track changing probabilities of the occurrence of particular correlated extremes as estimations and emissions scenarios are updated.

This summary post was written by Colin Raymond.


Session report: Understanding and modelling compound climate and weather events and their impacts

Published: 2019-04-15 15:22:51
Last update: 2019-04-25 14:09:25

Chairperson: Bart van den Hurk

Conveners: Nina Nadine Ridder | Co-conveners: Bart van den Hurk, Philip Ward, Seth Westra, Jakob Zscheischler, Samuel Jonson Sutanto, Claudia Vitolo, Henny A.J. Van Lanen

This is a short summary of the oral session at the EGU 2019 where once again this year a session on understanding and modelling compound climate and weather events and their impacts was being held. The selection of oral presentations showed that the research community is actively exploring the monitoring and modelling of compound events. While most presentations (and posters) focused on the documentation of compound event occurrence or their potential impacts on various sectors, a few studies report progress on forecasting and modelling events that are selected for the compound nature of their driver.

Water interactions leading to high-impact compound events: multiple stakeholder perspectives

Georgia Destouni, Samaneh Seifollahi-Aghmiuni, Zahra Kalantari, Carmen Prieto, and Yuanying Chen

Georgia Destouni discussed ongoing research within the EU COASTAL project, in which coastal zone issues are being examined using “multi-actor labs”. The presentation discussed how multiple stakeholder objectives can be including in modelling water interactions that lead to compound events. Questions addressed include: Which event and impacts are most relevant for stakeholders? What is/needs to be understood about interacting variables and interaction strengths/quantification?  They started by creating common mind maps by looking at possible drivers of changes and define key interaction and causal links. These were used as a basis to quantify the interactions and feedbacks in a systems approach using fuzzy cognitive mapping. They found that harbors and agriculture are sectors which can be heavily affected by the strength of these interactions. Eventually, this analysis will be used as a basis for co-developing scenarios and roadmaps towards coastal solutions and mitigation of risks.

Changing compound flood probability at the global scale under anthropogenic climate change

Emanuele Bevacqua, Douglas Maraun, Michalis I. Vousdoukas, Lorenzo Mentaschi, Evangelos Voukouvalas, Giuseppe Zappa, and Mathieu Vrac

Emanuele Bevacqua used model simulations to study compound flooding at the global scale from extreme precipitation and sea-levels. They assessed the dependence of high sea levels and precipitation at the global scale, under both current and future climates. They showed where the change in compound flood return periods in future climate could be attributed due to a change in extreme precipitation,  a change in extreme surge, or a change in the dependence between the two. The research shows that the compound flood potential from concurrent storm surge and extreme precipitation in several regions will have substantial changes beyond sea level rise, and should be considered for adaptation planning.

A centennial catalogue of hydro-geomorphological compound events and corresponding atmospheric forcing

Alexandre M. Ramos, Susana Pereira, Ricardo M. Trigo, and José L. Zêzere

Alexandre Ramos studied the hydro-geomorphological occurrences of flood (urban, flash flood or river floods) and landslides in Portugal, using a database from 1865 to 2015 compiled from newspaper articles. Their research assessed the atmospheric drivers that caused combined floods and landslides events, in this database. During ~60% of the compound events, SW/W/NW weather types were dominant. In addition, besides the extra-tropical cyclones associated with this events, the atmospheric rivers were associated with more than half of these events enhancing the precipitation event. They also found that the effect of conditional rainfall previous to the even was important in explaining the impact of these events, which created favorable conditions for landslides to occur either from previously wet soils or due to extreme amounts of precipitation. More details on these findings are available here.

Predicting compound dry-hot events over global land areas based on large-scale climate indices

Zengchao Hao, Xinying Wu, Sifang Feng, Vijay Singh, Fanghua Hao, and Xuan Zhang

Zengchao Hao looked into compound dry-hot events which can have very large impacts globally. Such event can be due to natural cycles such as ENSO, large-scale circulation patterns, and relatively greater regional sensitivity to global change.  He presented a new method to predict these compound dry-hot events based on ENSO, and demonstrated its first application at the global scale. A predictive model has been developed using a binary variable as predictand based on monthly precipitation and temperature, assessing the probability that both of these exceed various thresholds. The results show several regions where the model shows good predictive skill. More details on these findings are available here.

Joint probability of hot and dry meteorological extremes

Ana Russo, Andreia Ribeiro, and Célia M. Gouveia

The Mediterranean region is a hotspot for extremes, including mega-heatwaves which can lead to large socioeconomic impacts. Andreia Ribeiro presented research looking at the joint probability of hot and dry extremes in the Mediterranean, with the goal of assessing whether hot extremes are preceded by moisture deficits. For moisture, they use SPEI as a proxy, and for hot extremes, the number of hot days per month exceeding the 90th percentile is used. The correlation is assessed between these proxies to identify hotspots. The research shows that in most regions of the Mediterranean (but also in Western Europe), there are significant negative correlations between the number of hot days and SPEI, with the correlations becoming stronger throughout the summer season. The results show potential for early warning. These findings can also be found here.

Vulnerability of hop production due to compound climate events over Europe

Vera Potopová, Martin Možny, Luboš Türkott, Josef Soukup, Javier J Cancela, Paula Paredes, Martin Pavlovič Martin Pavlovič, Deniz Bilge, Francis Heitz, Siniša Srečec, Martin Steinhaus Martin Steinhaus, and Florian Weihrauch

Climate extremes affect most of the core ingredients of beer production (hop, water and barley), and Vera Potopová described research assessing the vulnerability of European hop production to compound climate events, both floods and droughts. The research shows that hop production critically depends on both the duration and coincidence of extreme events. Longer and more severe drought and heatwave occurrences have increased more than shorter, less severe concurrences. Overall, the quality of hops is decreasing whilst demand for hops is increasing. Whilst irrigation can reduce the drought impact, a problem is the decreasing content of alpha acids. Vera states that: “It’s so much easier to be a good manager in a wet year!”

Involvement of Stochastic Weather Generators within the DAMOCLES project

Martin Dubrovsky, Ondrej Lhotka, Petr Stepanek, Jiri Miksovsky, and Jan Meitner

Martin Dubrovsky provided an overview of weather generators, i.e. models to produce synthetic weather data statistically similar to real-world weather data. They presented a promising weather generator, SPAGETTA, that he and colleagues have been developing since 2016. Weather generators are a promising tool for studying compound events (CEs), therefore developing SPAGETTA towards a better representation of some relevant CE characteristics would be relevant. SPAGETTA can already reproduce many relevant features of the observed climate system, such as temporal and spatial structures of hot and dry spells or wet and dry events. An interaction between the SPAGETTA developers and DAMOCLES members would allow for the improvement of the weather generator, which could ultimately be useful for assessing the impact of several CEs.

This summary blog was written by Philip Ward, Anaïs Couasnon and Emanuele Bevacqua.


Workshop on Correlated Extremes

Published: 2019-03-18 00:02:15
Last update: 2019-11-13 15:18:45

The Workshop on Correlated Extremes will take place on Columbia University’s Morningside campus (Manhattan, NYC) on May 29-31, 2019, preceded by an evening panel on May 28. It will be comprised of a blend of invited talks and abstract submissions (both talks and posters), and will also have a significant amount of time devoted to discussions. A total attendance of around 125 is anticipated. 

For more information and a complete workshop schedule please visit
http://extremeweather.columbia.edu/workshop-on-correlated-extremes/

Note that registration is required and is open through April 30.


Open ended academic position at Loughborough University

Published: 2019-02-18 13:19:28
Last update: 2019-03-17 23:45:08

A part of its Excellence 100 recruitment, Loughborough is recruiting for a Lectureship in Energy Adaptions and Climate Change Resilience. This is an open ended academic position. The application deadline is 11 March 2019. Details can be found at this website under the Geography tab.  Please do not be put off by the 'Social Science' umbrella, we do world-class physical environmental science within this, and hazard and risk will mesh nicely with the 'Resillience' aspect of the call.  Of course, resilience might need to be to compound events.

On behalf of John Hillier.


Doctorate Researcher Opportunity

Published: 2019-01-22 12:18:17
Last update: 2019-03-17 23:46:49

The announcement for a position for a Doctorate Researcher under the Project IMPECAF ref: PTDC / CTA-CLI / 28902/2017 was published and is available at http://www.fc.ul.pt/pt/concursos, n. 2725.

IMPECAF's main objective is to deepen the existing knowledge on individual and compound dry and hot weather extremes (heat waves, droughts and flash-droughts) affecting the agricultural and forestry ecosystems on the Iberian Peninsula.

The objectives of the work program are:

1) the selection of adequate hydro-meteorological indexes for the identification of extreme events in the Iberian Peninsula (IP);

2) the characterization of extreme events regarding to their duration, intensity and severity;

3) the development of agricultural and forest risk models based on earth observation data and high spatial resolution data (e.g. satellite data)

4) the analysis of the influence of short-medium-term meteorological forecasts on losses of agricultural yield and fire risk;

5) analysis of the influence of climate change on agriculture and forests

The work will be hosted by IDL-University of Lisbon, Campo Grande, Lisbon, Portugal.

Please note that this is also available on the Eracareers portal with the following link: http://www.eracareers.pt/opportunities/index.aspx?task=global&jobId=109657.

For more information, please consult the Call for Applications at FCUL or write an email to acrusso@fc.ul.pt


PhD opportunity "Deadly Climate Hazards Combined: Tropical Cyclones and Deadly Heat"

Published: 2018-12-21 15:04:06
Last update: 2019-02-18 13:22:10

Might the severe risk posed by hurricanes become worse if they increasingly link with deadly heatwaves? As global temperatures rise, individual climate-driven hazards might become more intense or frequent. But, perhaps our concern should focus on entirely new or unrecognized risks caused by combinations of two or more hazards [e.g. Hillier et al, 2015], which may prove to be the most catastrophic. After all, it is events beyond human experience which are most likely to result in game changing consequences for society [Zscheischler et al., 2018]. “Black-swan” events are surprises that could not have been be anticipated (e.g. the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001), but with suitable physical understanding of the climate system it should be possible to identifying likely devastating natural hazard combinations before they first impact. This predictability renders such potential surprises “grey swan” events. Clearly, the stakes are high in detecting such emergent threats and there is strong incentive to develop plans for minimizing their impact.

This PhD project will contribute in this regard by addressing the rising grey swan hazard of deadly (humid) heat events following tropical cyclones (TCs). The supervisors’ initial work shows that this compound hazard has so far missed densely populated regions, but that good fortune looks unlikely to hold as dangerously hot weather and powerful TCs are expected to become more frequent as the climate continues to warm  [Matthews, 2018; Matthews et al., 2017; Kang and Elsner, 2015]. The possible impacts from such a hurricane-heatwave “multiplier” hazard actually unfolding cannot be overstated, given the growing dependency on air conditioning, and the mega blackouts that have followed recent major TCs [Houser and Marsters, 2018; Barreca et al., 2013] (Fig. 1).

The most sophisticated multi-hazard probabilistic risk modelling (i.e. catastrophe modelling) is in insurance [Kappes et al., 2012], with the World Bank now leading efforts to drive these expertise into the Disaster Risk Finance (DRF) community [Mitchell-Wallace et al., 2017]. This PhD will feed into that effort, contributing to pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and equipping the student with a highly-employable skill set, knowledge and experience.

For more information and contact details visit the CENTA website.

On behalf of Dr. Tom Matthews and Dr. John Hillier, Loughborough University


Call for abstracts: Compound event session at EGU2019 organised by DAMOCLES

Published: 2018-12-19 10:29:17
Last update: 2019-01-12 10:52:44

We are excited to invite submissions to the session "Understanding and modelling compound climate and weather events and their impacts (NH1.3/AS4.49)" at the EGU General Meeting in April 2019. This session, organised by DAMOCLES, aims to bring together climate scientists, impact modellers, statisticians, and stakeholders to discuss Compound Events, share their findings and connect to the Compound Event community. 

Abstracts will be accepted until the 10th of January 2019 and should be submitted through the official EGU abstract submission system. More information on how to submit an abstract can be found here.

The session will focus on the following topics:

  • Synthesis and Analysis: What are common features for different classes of Compound Events? Which climate variables need to be assessed jointly in order to address related impacts? How much is currently known about the dependence between these variables? 
  • Stakeholders and science-user interface: Which events are most relevant for stakeholders? What are novel approaches to ensure continuous stakeholder engagement?
  • Impacts: What are the currently available sources of impact data? How can they be used to link observed impacts to climate and weather events?
  • Statistical approaches, model development and evaluation: What are possible novel statistical models that could be applied in the assessment of Compound Events?
  • Realistic model simulations of events: What are the physical mechanisms behind different types of Compound Events? What type of interactions result in the joint impact of the hazards that are involved in the event? How do these interactions influence risk assessment analyses?

We are looking forward to your submission and attendance at the session!


Official start of the COST Action on 'Understanding and modeling compound climate and weather events (DAMOCLES)'

Published: 2018-09-15 03:43:24
Last update: 2019-11-13 15:19:13
Yesterday was the official start of the COST Action DAMOCLES (also see our post from the 3rd of May). The kick off meeting in Brussels hosted representatives from almost all 28 countries taking part in this network Action, which facilitates the compound event community to join forces and tackle the challenges of compounding extreme weather and climate events. In this first meeting, the management committee of the Action, under the lead of the Action chair Jakob Zscheischler, elected representatives for several key positions. Further, the committee set the budget for the first budget period. This includes:
  • several opportunities for early career investigator (ECI) from Inclusiveness Target Countries to win conference grants for next year’s EGU General Assembly in Vienna
  • a number of Short Term Scientific Mission grants,
  • travel grants for ECIs to participate at a workshop in Oslo early next year, and
  • the organisation and travel support for the first public meeting of the Action in Prague (CZ) on the 17th and 18th of December 2018.
The five working groups within DAMOCLES will be led by a team of two researchers with expertise in the research area of the respective working groups (WG). The two leaders will jointly organise and manage the work of each group and will be in close contact with the other WG leaders to allow a vivid exchange between the different sections of the Action. Researchers interested to join the Action and contribute to the work of the different WGs are invited to contact the Action chair or any other member of the Management Committee. In detail, WG 1 under the lead of Alexandre Ramos (Universidade de Lisboa) and Olivia Romppainen-Martius (University of Bern) will develop a generalized framework for the identification, analysis methodology and impact assessment of Compound Events. WG 2, lead by Sarah D’haen (Climate Analytics) and Dimitra Theochari (National Technical University of Athens), aims it attention to the identification of the current stakeholder network within the Action and map this on a time-space-hazard domain. This work will build on the framework developed in WG 1. WG 3 is lead by Miguel Mahecha (Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry) and Sonia Quiroga (Universidad de Alcalá). This working group focuses on the impacts of Compound Events and the exploration of the applicability of currently available impact databases for compound event research. WG 4, under the leadership of Aglaé Jezequel (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement) and Douglas Mauran (University of Graz), assesses statistical methods currently available to describe and analyse multivariate processes. Further, this WG will promote best practices for the investigation of compound events and together with WG 5 facilitate the exchange between statistical and numerical climate modellers. WG 5, under the lead of Nina Ridder (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) and Ondrej Lhotka (The Czech Academy of Sciences), concentrates on the realistic modelling of specific events to identify the driving mechanisms behind these events and improve their predictability. The event selection will be conducted in close collaboration with the stakeholder network of the Action identified in WG 2. Other key positions were appointed to:
  • Bart van den Hurk (KNMI) - Action vice-chair,
  • Christopher White (University of Strathclyde) - Short Term Scientific Missions Manager, and
  • Wim Thiery (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) - Science Communications Manager.

Postdoc opportunity to work on compound flooding

Published: 2018-08-29 17:32:21
Last update: 2019-02-18 13:22:31
Dear colleagues, We have a vacancy for a 2-year postdoc position at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando. The successful candidate will be working in the Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering Department (CECE) and National Center for Integrated Coastal Research (NCICR) (https://www.ucf.edu/faculty/feature/national-center-for-integrated-coastal-research/). The position offers the unique opportunity to work with a highly interdisciplinary team, including colleagues from multiple departments and colleges at UCF and other universities nationally and internationally. The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Thomas Wahl and work on the broad topic of assessing compound flooding from storm surge, wave impacts, river discharge, and/or precipitation for the US coastline, and the development of appropriate tools to include such events in risk analysis and design concepts. Parts of the funds will be covered by a UCF Preeminent Postdoctoral Scholar fellowship (including a 5k stipend for travel or other research related expenses managed by the candidate). This leaves room for the successful candidate to pursue own research ideas (aligned with the supervisor’s background and interests), produce high-level publications, assist in student advising, and be involved in other projects we are currently working on (ranging from local/regional erosion and flood risk assessments, through large-scale storm surge modelling, to multi-hazard events). The successful candidate will gain experience and be expected to assist in grant writing and teaching activities. Applicants must possess a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, Statistics, Geosciences, Physical Oceanography, or other relevant field. Experience in using multivariate extreme value models (e.g. Copulas) and technical programming (e.g. MATLAB, R, Python) is required. Experience in working with climate data and time series analysis, and a strong interest in the broad field of coastal risk analysis is desired. Please send your application package (including a cover letter with a short research statement, updated resume, and contact details of two professional references) to t.wahl@ucf.edu. The start date for the position is January 2019 (fixed) and the position will be open until filled (review of applications will begin 10 September). Please don’t hesitate to contact me under the email address listed above in case you have additional questions. Information on the position is also available here: https://thomaswahl.org/positions/ Kind regards, Thomas

New article on compound events online in NHESS Discussions

Published: 2018-07-17 05:43:28
Last update: 2018-12-21 16:02:54
Atmospheric rivers (ARs), long filaments of high water vapour concentration, play an important role in the occurrence of compound events (CEs) in the form of coinciding heavy precipitation and high water levels along the Dutch coast. Over the past 37 years around 70% of all CEs of this type can be associated to the presence of an AR over the Netherlands. This has been shown in a study published in NHESS Discussions last week. The study, which was performed at the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute in course of the ICOWEX project, assesses modelled coastal water levels, information from an AR database (both derived from reanalysis data) and observed precipitation over the period from 1979 - 2015 to identify the driving mechanisms behind CEs. It presents a first classification of CEs into two categories: (1) CEs associated to an AR over the Netherlands and (2) CEs without such an association. This classification can be used to coordinate future research and function as a guideline for subsequent classification efforts. Additionally, the study provides information on the specific conditions that drive the two different CE classes, with (i) CEs associated to an AR occurring under sea level pressure conditions resembling the positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, and (ii) CEs without the presence of an AR arising under East-Atlantic-pattern-like conditions. These typical sea level pressure patterns and the with it associated changes in moisture transport and sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic, evolve and are clearly visible throughout the week before an event. Thus, the information provided in the study could be used in the early prediction of CEs and thus facilitate the development of an early warning system for the Dutch coastal region. The study is publicly available and open for discussion until the beginning of September. We invite interested researchers to read the manuscript, leave constructive comments or contact the authors for any questions related to the study or compound events in general. Ridder, N., de Vries, H., and Drijfhout, S.: The Role of Atmospheric Rivers in compound events consisting of heavy precipitation and high storm surges along the Dutch coast, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-204, in review, 2018. [link]

Call for abstract: AGU Fall Meeting session on Compound and Cascading Events

Published: 2018-06-27 07:46:18
Last update: 2018-12-21 15:52:38
We are happy to announce that we will be launching a new session at the AGU Fall Meeting 2018, entitled “Compound and Cascading Events: an Emerging Challenge for Natural Hazard Risk Assessment and Management”. We cordially invite you to submit an abstract to this session. The abstract submission site is now open. The deadline for all submissions is Wednesday, 1 August 23:59 EDT. Abstracts will not be accepted for review after this date. Session Details (see https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm18/gateway.cgi) Session ID: 43856 Session Title: NH008. Compound and Cascading Events: an Emerging Challenge for Natural Hazard Risk Assessment and Management Section/Focus Group: Natural Hazards Co-organized: Hydrology Cross-listing: Atmospheric Sciences; Hydrology; Ocean Sciences; Seismology Abstract: This session focuses on compound and cascading events, and their impacts on natural hazard risk. Such events – caused by the interaction of multiple hazard drivers in space or time – have a multiplier effect on the risk to society, infrastructure, and the environment. However, they have been largely overlooked in disaster risk science and policy. Recently, they were identified as an important challenge by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) ‘Grand Challenge’ on Extremes. Therefore, this session aims to provide a platform for showcasing current state-of-the-art and recent research findings on compound, cascading, and concurrent events; and foster broader exchange of knowledge between scientists and practitioners across different natural hazards. We encourage contributions related to all aspects of compound, cascading, and concurrent events, including those that: improve understanding of physical processes; showcase new methodologies, techniques and statistical approaches; and illustrate how including multiple interacting hazards improves risk assessments. We also encourage you to forward this invitation to your colleagues who may be interested. We look forward to seeing many of you in Washington DC. Philip Ward, Antonia Sebastian, Thomas Wahl, Jakob Zscheischler

Perspective paper on Compound Events published in Nature Climate Change

Published: 2018-06-04 10:51:14
Last update: 2018-12-21 15:53:20
In this month's issue of Nature Climate Change, we published a Perspective on Future climate risk from compound events. We present a new definition of compound events, which has emerged from the workshop on Addressing the challenge of compound events in April 2017 at ETH Zurich. Following our definition, compound weather/climate events refer to the combination of multiple drivers and/or hazards that contributes to societal or environmental risk. Our definition aims to establish a framework for groundbreaking research on climate risk. In the Perspective, we review the current state of research on compound events and suggest ways forward. We call for a paradigm shift in climate impact analyses and recommend a bottom-up approach to study compound events. Bottom-up approaches start with a system and then identify those climate drivers that have the potential to cause large impacts on the system. This will help to identify the relevant drivers of compound events. In this way, compound events also serve as a bridge between different communities who study climate risk: Climate modelers, who provide information on the future state of the climate; impact modelers, who translate climate information into potential impacts; engineers, who build structures that need to withstand climate extremes; and statisticians, who provide tools to study complex dependencies in the tails of multivariate distributions. The workshop in Zurich in 2017 has also led to the creation of a new community at the interface of climate science, impact modeling, engineering and statistics. This emerging community will be brough together by the newly approved COST Action DAMOCLES. DAMOCLES will coordinate European research activities related to compound events that have been outlined in the Perspective over a period of four years. Reference: Zscheischler, J., Westra, S., van den Hurk, B. J. J. M., Seneviratne, S. I., Ward, P. J., Pitman, A., AghaKouchak, A., Bresch, D. N., Leonard, M., Wahl, T. and Zhang, X. (2018): Future climate risk from compound events, Nature Climate Change, 8, 469–477, doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0156-3, 2018.

New COST Action DAMOCLES approved

Published: 2018-05-03 09:10:37
Last update: 2018-12-21 15:55:18
On 13 April 2018 the COST Committee of Senior Officials has approved the COST Action UnDerstanding And Modeling cOmpound CLimate and weather EventS, in short, DAMOCLES. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which outlines the planned activities, went online today. COST Actions are flexible, fast, effective and efficient networking instruments to cooperate and coordinate nationally funded research activities. COST Actions are open to anyone interested in the topic. From the kick-off, DAMOCLES will run for four years and fund meetings, conferences, training schools, and, maybe most importantly, short-term scientific missions. Five Working Groups will coordinate the different activities related to compound event research:
    1. Synthesis and analysis framework
    2. Stakeholder involvement and science-user interface
    3. A meta-database of impact data
    4. New statistical approaches for model development and evaluation
    5. Realistic model simulations for specific event types
The main goals of DAMOCLES are to
  • identify key process and variable combinations underpinning compound events
  • describe the available statistical methods for modelling dependence in time, space, and between multiple variables
  • identify data requirements needed to document, understand, and simulate compound events
  • propose an analysis framework to improve the assessment of compound events
DAMOCLES will bring together climate scientists, impact modellers, engineers, statisticians, and stakeholders to coordinate research on compound events. We hope that this will lead to a major breakthrough in future risk assessments.

Session on compound events at the 8th GEWEX open science conference: 'Extremes and water on the edge'

Published: 2018-04-16 05:25:43
Last update: 2018-05-22 07:36:53
In early May a dedicated session on compound event research will be held in course of the 8th Open Science Conference organised by the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) project. At this 6-day conference scientists from various disciplines related to Earth sciences will meet in Calgary, Canada and discuss the challenges of climate change in climate extremes and water availability. The dedicated session will focus on the challenges faced in the analysis of compound events in the light of future climate change. For this, a variety of studies dealing with this subject and using state-of-the-art methods will be presented. The session will be chaired by an international panel consisting of leading researchers from Australia, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States. Other sessions at the conference will cover related topics such as atmospheric and land modelling and observations or mountainous hydrology. The conference will be preceded by a 3-day workshop for early career researchers jointly organised by Young Earth System Scientists and the Young Hydrologic Society. Here, two working groups will be discussing various topics from data availability and generation to spatial and temporal scale requirements and user needs. Working Group I - “Exploring data sources” will be co-chaired by early career scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (The Netherlands), the Centro de Investigación del Mar y la Atmósfera (Argentina), the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (New Zealand) and the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (China).

Session on compound events at EGU General Assembly 2018 - Tuesday 10th April 2018

Published: 2018-04-02 07:01:09
Last update: 2018-05-22 07:37:27

On Tuesday 10th April 2018 we will host the session “Addressing the challenge of compound events, multi-risk modelling and cross-risk assessment methods: Extremes, inter-dependencies, non-stationarities, impacts and vulnerability” at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna.

There will be 6 oral presentations between 15:30-17:00 in room L6. There will also be 18 posters in Hall X1 (poster boards X1.135 to X1.153). Posters will be there all day, with authors in attendance between 17:30-19:00.

The session will be convened by representatives from the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, ETH Zürich’s Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, University of Southampton, University of Adelaide, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, among others.

We look forward to seeing you at the session!


EGU 2018

Published: 2018-01-26 16:42:47
Last update: 2018-05-22 07:37:45
In 2018, we are again organizing a session focusing on modelling compound events as well as multi- and cross-risk assessments, entitled “Addressing the challenge of compound events, multi-risk modelling and cross-risk assessment methods”. The purpose of this session is to bring together scientists and studies from a wide range of discipline areas to illustrate how including multiple perspectives improves risk assessments. The session will be convened by, among others, representatives from the IVM, ETH Zürich’s Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, University of Southampton, University of Adelaide and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The EGU General Assembly 2018 takes place in Vienna from 8-13 April 2018