March 29, 2020

Public Lecture: ‘Bias adjustments of climate variables for a more precise Climate Risk Assessment’

There are several variables that it can be difficult to correct bias in climate science research. This was highlighted in a public lecture by Dr Stefano Galmarini, a researcher at the European Commission/ Joint Research Centre and Prof. Douw Steyn, University of British Columbia. Both speakers gave a public lecture titled “Bias adjustments of climate variables for a more precise Climate Risk Assessment”.  The lecture was held at AIMS South Africa on 12 March 2020 with the aim of engaging the AIMS family and the general public in their research.

Prof. Steyn, began the talk by introducing the topic and then gave a brief overview of their study. He highlighted that they used global temperature for their study. Dr Galmarini gave the audience a brilliant description of weather and climate. One can easily use the terms “climate” and “weather” interchangeably. However, Dr Galmarini unpacked the two natural phenomena by using this analogy. He noted that the weather is like reading a book page by page, whereas climate is like reading the synopsis. He gave an in-depth talk on bias adjustments methods and how to compensate for errors in this regard.

Dr Galmarini stated that it is always important to have a multivariate B-A method to counter bias as some variables are harder to bias correct, citing precipitation as one of those variables. He mentioned that with these limitations in mind they started a project called BADJAM – Bias ADJustment of climate scenarios.

“It has been shown that if you run a handful of models you have a higher chance of succeeding,” he said.

The public lecture forms part of AIMS-South Africa Public Lecture Series where various scientists engage with the general public about their research ideas and findings.

Prof. Steyn
Dr Galmarini

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