Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Statistical Analysis of Climate Extremes: The Blog about the Book. Part 3: Content

Manfred Mudelsee

The goal of the book is to “equip researchers with the knowledge and methods needed to understand climate extremes data.” One of the key properties of the book is the accessibility to students. This dictates the writing style and the structure of the content. Clarity and simplicity. An amount of repetitions in order to imprint the statistical concepts on their minds, and be it at the cost of scientific conciseness. I would be pleased to receive your feedback on how well you think the book achieves its goal.

The audience comprises three more types of people. First, the university teachers of the students have to understand and get into the subject. Perhaps they will start teaching a course on climate extremes this year? Note that there is a PDF with the solutions to the exercises available to registered teachers. Second, risk analysts in the insurance industry may have to quickly learn methods and the state of current knowledge about climate extremes. Those guys I brief with a “Summary for Risk Analysts” in each of the application chapters (Floods and Droughts, Heatwaves and Cold Spells, Hurricanes and Other Storms). Third, professional researchers also benefit from the book because of the supplied software tools and the “Outlook” sections, where the current state of knowledge and future directions are explored.

The structure follows well-proven paths: Introduction, Data, Methods and then the three application chapters. I gave many appendices to make the book as self-contained as possible and meaningful: measurements, climate archives, climate models, statistical inference, numerical techniques, data, software and a glossary. Honestly, I believe that also undergraduate students with only a basic training in calculus and statistics can do it. Most important is an open mind and the joy about learning something new.

The full contents list can be seen here.

With respect to the act of writing, I started with Introduction, Data and Methods. Then the appendices. This allowed to keep the application chapters – fields where new research is published daily – fairly recent. (I sent the book files in summer 2019.)

As regards the breadth, I realized that I should not compete with the IPCC, which delivers in its Assessment Reports a more or less full coverage of the weather–climate research field (also at a fair recentness). This led me to present the application of the methods to selected examples of climate extremes in case studies. Step-by-step explanation of the analysis. The interplay between data, questions to the data, the search for suitable tools for obtaining an answer and the interpretation of the results. I believe that this style serves best to achieve the goal of the book.

The book, published by Cambridge University Press in May 2020. It is available to order in printonline for individuals or online for institutions.

Online material for the book: https://www.manfredmudelsee.com/textbook/index.htm

About The Author

Manfred Mudelsee

Manfred Mudelsee is founder of the research company Climate Risk Analysis, and a visiting scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. ...

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