First Conference on Weather, Climate, and the New Energy Economy
8th Users Forum on Weather and Climate Impacts


Knowledge Discovery and Dissemination for Climate Extremes and Uncertainty

Auroop R. Ganguly, ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN; and K. Steinhaeuser, A. Sorokine, E. Parish, S. C. Kao, N. Singh, and M. L. Branstetter

Climate extremes may be defined inclusively as severe hydrological or weather events, as well as significant regional changes in hydro-meteorology, which are caused or exacerbated by climate change. Climate modelers and statisticians struggle to develop precise projections of climate extremes. Thus, predictive skills of climate models can be critically evaluated by investigating the accuracy of the projected extremes, which in turn may provide guidance on model improvements and uncertainty reduction. In addition, uncertainties in climate extremes propagate to consequence analysis. One of the most significant knowledge-gap relevant for policymakers and stakeholders remains the inability to produce credible estimates of local to regional scale climate extremes impacts. On the other hand, climate extremes and their impacts strongly influence emissions policy negotiations as well as adaptation and mitigation strategies. While the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has resulted in a wide acceptance of human-induced climate change, the next report (AR5) is expected to be more focused on climate extremes, impacts and their uncertainties, at regional and decadal scales. The development of the science of climate extremes depends critically on our ability to utilize and develop state-of-the-art and novel methodologies in geographical data analysis and mining, with a focus on extreme values or large changes especially for nonlinear data generation processes with complex dependence structures. The ability of policy-makers and resource managers to leverage the science depends critically on innovations in visualization of geospatial-temporal data as well as effective communication of extremes, uncertainty and impacts.

We have developed demonstrable knowledge discovery and dissemination capabilities for climate extremes, uncertainty and impacts. The capabilities were used to provide climate science support to an international climate change war game, where real-world policy makers, as well as business, political and science leaders from around the world, engaged in a mock policy negotiations. We have since further developed the capabilities for supporting the development of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) by the Office of the Secretary of Defense within the United States Department of Defense (DOD). Here we discuss the novelty and significance of these capabilities.

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Joint Session 5, Applied Studies
Tuesday, 19 January 2010, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, B202

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