Advanced statistics training for climate research 2022 course report


The “Advanced Statistics Training for Climate Research” course took place at the Geophysics Institute at the University of Bergen from the 13-16 September 2022. The short course was delivered by Prof. David Stephenson and Dr. Stefan Siegert from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Exeter.
The course aims to give climate scientists a deep understanding of modern statistical modelling concepts, as well as the practical ability to apply and interpret statistical methods using the R software for statistical computing. The course consisted of two theoretical lectures and two practical programming sessions each day, covering a wide range of topics such as Bayesian inference, linear modelling, multivariate statistics, time series analysis, spatial modelling, and extreme value statistics. Students were also encouraged to bring along their own research problems and data sets for discussion.
The course was attended by 5 highly motivated participants with diverse backgrounds (5 different nationalities, almost an equal mix of female/male participants, and based in Bergen, Oslo, and Tromso/Longyearbyen). All students were actively involved in a wide range of climate-related research areas such as paleo climate modelling, physical oceanography, and marine biophysical modelling, as well as one student who works in bioinformatics. In addition to lecturing about state-of-the-art statistical methods, and teaching the use of the R programming language, the lecturers helped some of the students to apply advanced methods to their own research problems.
The lecturers were impressed by the students’ high level of engagement and their enthusiasm to learn more about data analysis and modelling, and look forward to teaching the course again in future.

Text: David Stephenson, photos: Mandy Kong