Nychka Presents "Climate Past, Present and Future"

October,  2009


Dr. Doug Nychka presented "Climate Past, Present and Future" on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 4:30pm in LWSN 1142. The talk was co-sponsored by the Department of Statistics and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.


A grand scientific challenge for this century is to understand the complex interrelationships among the physical processes, and human activities that define the Earth's climate. One specific concern is the warming of our climate brought about the increase of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, being released into the atmosphere. What do we know about the Earth's past climate and is the global warming over the last century real? What is a climate model and how is it used to understand changes to climate for the future? For each of these questions statistical science can play a role in quantifying the uncertainty in scientific conclusions, for combining different kinds of information and summarizing complex data sets.


Dr. Doug Nychka is currently the Director of the Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences (IMAGe) and also a Senior Scientist at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1983 and then spent 14 years as a professor in the Statistics Department at North Carolina State University before he moved to NCAR in 1997. Dr. Nychka's research areas cover spline, inverse problems, spatial statistics, Bayesian methods, nonparametric regression, statistical computing, and spatial designs. He made outstanding contributions to the statistical sciences, both theory and practice, atmospheric science, climatology, environmetrics and the geosciences. Dr. Nychka is a leading expert on interdisciplinary research. That work has covered many aspects of atmospheric sciences from ocean winds to dispersion of pollutants, from design of monitoring networks to data assimilation in precipitation models, and from assessment of model fits to global warming. As director of IMAGe, Dr. Nychka is also heavily invested in mentoring younger scientists, including those who come to NCAR as postdoctoral researchers.