Superstorm Sandy is merely the most recent high-impact weather event to raise concerns about extreme weather events becoming more frequent or more severe. Previous examples include the western European heatwave of 2003, the Russian heatwave and the Pakistan floods of 2010, and the Texas heatwave of 2011. However, it remains an open question to what extent such events may be “attributed” to human influences such as increasing greenhouse gases. One way to answer this question is to run climate models under two scenarios, one including all the anthropogenic forcing factors (in particular, greenhouse gases) while the other is run only including the natural forcings (e.g. solar fluctuations) or control runs with no forcings at all. Based on the climate model runs, probabilities of the extreme event of interest may be computed under both scenarios, followed by the risk ratio or the “fraction of attributable risk”, which has become popular in the climatology community as a measure of the human influence on extreme events. This talk will discuss statistical approaches to these quantities, including the use of extreme value theory as a method of quantifying the risk of extreme events, and Bayesian hierarchical models for combining the results of different climate models. This is joint work with Xuan Li (UNC) and Michael Wehner (Lawrence Berkeley Lab). Event flyer.
Dr. Harrison Kim is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with appointment at the Beckman Institute and the Computational Science and Engineering. Dr. Kim’s research focuses on a variety of areas of complex systems design and large-scale computation and optimization. Dr. Kim’s current research topics are energy systems engineering; renewable, hybrid energy conversion and distribution; user-centered sustainable product design; product design analytics; multidisciplinary, multilevel optimization; green design. Application areas are automotive, consumer electronics, heavy-duty equipment, national security, commercial/military system of systems, and information technology. Dr. Kim has received numerous recognitions including the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, Dean’s Award in Excellence in Research (Xerox Award), Best Paper Award in ASME Design for Manufacturing and Life Cycle Conference, and news media coverage in the USA Today and the Chicago Tribune. Harrison Kim earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Michigan in 2001 in the area of Engineering System Design and Optimization in Mechanical Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Panos Papalambros. He joined the University of Illinois in 2005 after Business-IT consulting experience and postdoctoral training under Prof. Wei Chen at Northwestern University and has been leading the Enterprise Systems Optimization Lab.