IRI@AGU: Schedule of Events 2015

The IRI has seven scientists and staff presenting on a wide range of topics at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meeting this year. Andrew Robertson and Alexis Berg will present advancements in our fundamental understanding of earth’s systems. Eunjin Han, Pietro Ceccato and Pradipta Parhi will discuss methods for using our climate knowledge for applications in agriculture, health and finance, respectively. Ceccato and Robertson will also present on best practices in building capacity for the use of climate information in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Upmanu Lall will provide a big-picture perspective on the role of science and data in adaptive management and the water-energy-food-climate nexus. Francesco Fiondella will round out the talks with a presentation on collaboration between art and science to effectively promote climate literacy. Below is the schedule of IRI’s posters and presentations in sequential order.


A Perspective on Sustainability and Resilience in Interdependent Water-Energy-Food Systems

Upmanu Lall

Given that hydroclimatic systems are globally connected dynamical systems that influence social systems that manage the production and consumption of water, food and energy, and are in turn influenced by them, one direction that needs to emerge is an understanding of the multiscale and bidirectional links between climate and the managed earth systems. However, a challenge in this regard is that our managed systems are not explicitly managed. We have market processes for food and energy, but with regulatory intervention and subsidies and incentives that often distort market outcomes. For water, we typically have disjunctive public sector managementof resources, with very limited market like approaches…  

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Climate and Health Vulnerability to Vector-Borne Diseases: Increasing Resilience under Climate Change Conditions in Africa

Pietro Ceccato

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), the City University of New York (CUNY) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in collaboration with NASA SERVIR are developing tools to monitor climate variables (precipitation, temperature, vegetation, water bodies, inundation) that help projects in Africa to increase resilience to climate change for vector-borne diseases ( malaria, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, and schistosomiasis). Through the development of new products to monitor precipitation, water bodies and inundation, IRI, CUNY and JPL provide tools and capacity building to research communities; ministries of health; the WMO Global Framework for Climate and Services; and World Health Organization in Africa…

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Climate Risk Management Strategy in the Tropical Low to Medium Income Countries

Pradipta Parhi + Alessandra Giannini + Upmanu Lall

Analyzing the observed inter-annual variability of the tropical climate system, this paper identifies the physical mechanisms for heterogeneous climatic response and suggests that diversification opportunity exists across different regions and seasons. Taking two case studies from tropical Africa, an empirical analysis is done to highlight that El Niño modulates the number of wet days in an opposite way across the two regions and seasons, suggesting the possibility of diversification of the index insurance portfolios across regions and seasons…

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Picture This: The Art of Using Museum and Science Collaborations to Teach about Climate Change

Franceso Fiondella + Elisabeth Gawthrop

Connecting scientists and their research to photography galleries and museums is an effective way to promote climate literacy among a new, diverse audience. This approach requires creativity and a willingness to reach out to and work with staff unfamiliar with scientific institutions, but can result in broad exposure and understanding of the impacts of climate change. In this presentation we highlight the successful science-art collaboration among the International Center of Photography, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. The collaboration revolved around ICP’s 2014-2015 exhibition of renowned photographer Sebastiao Salgado’s Genesis, an eight-year worldwide survey of wildlife, landscapes, seascapes and indigenous peoples… 

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Building Capacity to Use Earth Observations in Decision Making for Climate, Health, Agriculture and Natural Disasters

Pietro Ceccato + Andrew Robertson

In order to fill the gaps existing in climate and public health, agriculture, natural disasters knowledge and practices, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) has developed a Curriculum for Best Practices in Climate Information. This Curriculum builds on the experience of 10 years courses on ‘Climate Information’ and captures lessons and experiences from different tailored trainings that have been implemented in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In this presentation, we will provide examples of training activities we have developed to bring remote sensing products to monitor climatic and environmental information into decision processes that benefited users…  

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Role of land surface processes in increased aridity over land from global warming

Alexis BergAlessandra Giannini

It has been argued that increasing aridity with temperature follows from relatively simple, robust atmospheric thermodynamics, independent of land surface processes. In particular, the arguments invoked involve enhanced warming over land compared to oceans and decreased terrestrial relative humidity, both of which increase PET. Still, it is unclear precisely how much coupling to the land surface may ultimately impact the aridity response to warming. Here we propose to analyze the role of land surface processes in the increase in aridity (i.e., the decrease in P/PET) over land with global warming. We use simulations from the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE)-CMIP5 experiment, in which climate change simulations from several CMIP5 generation models were performed with and without long-term changes in soil moisture… 

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Sub-seasonal Modulation of Indian Summer Monsoon Seasonal Predictability

Andrew Robertson + Vincent Moron + D.S. Pai

Recent studies have demonstrated that the Indian Summer Monsoon is more predictable during the early and late stages of the season, with a drop in rainfall predictability during the core monsoon months of July and August. Various theories have been advanced for this sub-seasonal evolution, but its origins are still poorly understood. We use a new 0.25-degree 1901-2014 daily rainfall dataset from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) to investigate this phenomenon at near-local scale, using more than a century of data. The analysis is based on daily rainfall characteristics, including the spatial coherence of sub-seasonal rainfall anomalies, and on relating these to large-scale moisture variables computed from reanalysis data….

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*Robertson is a primary convener of this session, as well as a presentation session on subseasonal to seasonal prediction on Thursday afternoon.


The Warming Hiatus, Natural Variability and Thermal Ocean Structure

Andreas Goth + Vincent Moron + Andrew Robertson + Dmitri Kondrashov + Michael Ghil

Long before the recent concern with the warming hiatus, Ghil and Vautard (1991, Nature) stated at the end of their abstract that “The oscillatory components [in global temperature time series] have combined (peak-to-peak) amplitudes of 0.2°C, and therefore limit our ability to predict whether the inferred secular warming of 0.005°C/yr will continue.” Present capabilities of the advanced spectral methods introduced into the global warming problem by that paper permit us now to consider oscillatory aspects of natural variability in much greater detail.
In a multivariate analysis of the upper-ocean thermal structure, we examine properties of the recent long-term changes and of the naturally occurring global-climate fluctuations on interannual-to-interdecadal time scales….

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Some Advances in Downscaling Probabilistic Climate Forecasts for Agricultural Decision Support

Eunjin Han + Amor Ines 

Seasonal climate forecasts, commonly provided in tercile-probabilities format (below-, near- and above-normal), need to be translated into more meaningful information for decision support of practitioners in agriculture. In this paper, we will present two new novel approaches to temporally downscale probabilistic seasonal climate forecasts: one non-parametric and another parametric method. First, the non-parametric downscaling approach called FResampler1 uses the concept of ‘conditional block sampling’ of weather data to create daily weather realizations of a tercile-based seasonal climate forecasts… 

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