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Session S15 - Mathematics of Planet Earth

Thursday, July 15, 18:00 ~ 18:25 UTC-3

Causality and extreme event attribution. Or, did climate change flood my house?

Michael Wehner

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA   -   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Extreme event attribution is an exercise in causal inference. Rather than some deep philosophical statement, an attribution statement is a probabilistic one. However, it is also a conditional statement and is incomplete if the conditions and uncertainties are not clearly specified. We will review a hierarchy of extreme attribution statements types and their uncertainties ranging from those with very few conditions to those that are highly constrained. Real world examples will include interpretations of recent attributions statements about Hurricanes Harvey, Florence, Maria and Irma. In particular, we will explore the confidence in the human induced portion of the Harvey’s record rainfall in the greater Houston area as well as the associated flood and cost of this disastrous event.

Joint work with Mark Risser, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA.

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