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Extreme events in the Earth and planetary sciences

04 - 08 July 2016
Organisers: Freddy Bouchet, Colm Connaughton, Ira Didenkulova, Alexandra Tzella

Scientific scope

It is in the Earth and planetary sciences that some of the most exciting applications of nonequilib-
rium statistical mechanics and large deviation theory are to be found along with some of the most daunting mathematical challenges. There is growing evidence that transitions between metastable non-equilibrium steady states driven by turbulent fluctuations are responsible for infrequent large scale geophysical transitions such as the meanders of the Kuroshio current off the coast of the Japan or the polarity reversals of the Earth’s magnetic field evident in the geological record. The extreme sea-surface fluctuations known as “rogue waves” have, in the last 10 years, made the transition from maritime mythology to oceanographic fact as sea-surface monitoring has become extensive enough to collect statistics on these elusive and destructive events. Meanwhile as human activity alters the Earth’s climate, the need to predict the statistics of extreme weather events in addition to average changes is becoming increasingly apparent. All of these problems, and others, require an ability to apply the techniques of large deviations to the equations of geophysical fluid dynamics with their difficult nonlinearities. The difficulties are compounded by the complicated statistics of the turbulent fluctuations driving these systems, a problem which, in itself, is not fully understood.

This workshop will bring together applied mathematicians having expertise in large deviations and extreme value statistics with applied scientists working in oceanography, climate
modelling, geophysics and solar physics to share recent advances and identify possible ways forward to tackle what we believe are some of these most important problems in contemporary applied mathematics. Topics to be covered include theoretical approaches to fluctuation driven transitions between metastable states in geophysical flows, applications of extreme value statistics to correlated systems, rogue waves in oceanography and elsewhere, cascades and self-organised criticality in Earth and space sciences and modelling and forecasting of extreme weather events.

Speakers include

Freddy Bouchet (ENS-Lyon)
Charles-Edouard Bréhier (Lyon)
Daan Crommelin (Amsterdam)
Ira Didenkulova (Tallinn)
Gavin Esler (UCL)
Francesco Fedele (Georgia Tech)
Tobias Grafke (NYU)
Abdel Hannachi (Stockholm)
Greg King (Barcelona)
Tom Knutson (NOAA)
Frank Kwasniok (Exeter)
Jason Laurie (Aston)
Tony Lelievre (ENPC)
Valery Nakariakov (Warwick)
Tim Palmer (Oxford)
Efim Pelinovsky (Linz)
Joran Rolland (Frankfurt)
Francesco Ragone (Hamburg and ENS-Lyon)
Ted Shepherd (Reading)
Eric Simonnet (Nice)
Alexey Slunyaev (Nizhny Novgorod)
Michael Tippett (Columbia)
Michael Wehner (Laurence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Pascal Yiou (LSCE)
Xiang Zhou (City University of Hong Kong)


Provisional programme is available here (subject to revision).


All Warwick EPSRC Mathematics Symposium workshops are open to all interested parties within the mathematical sciences community in the UK and internationally, both in academia and, where appropriate, in industry.

There is no registration fee for this workshop although all prospective participants are required to register here (scroll down until you find the link for this workshop).

Registration deadline is Friday 03 June 2016.

The total number of participants may be limited by room capacity. In the event that the workshop is over-subscribed, the organisers will use their discretion when issuing invitations.

Logistical information and financial support

The meeting will take place in the Zeeman Building at the University of Warwick. Information about Warwick and how to get here can be found in the links on the right.

The EPSRC has provided limited funds to support the travel and accommodation expenses of workshop participants. We expect visitors to cover travel and accommodation expenses from their own grants whenever reasonable to do so. Financial support can be requested during the registration process.

For further information contact Colm Connaughton (

Aerial photograph of Maths Houses

See also:
Mathematics Research Centre
Mathematical Interdisciplinary Research at Warwick (MIR@W)
Past Events 
Past Symposia 

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Mathematics Research Centre
Zeeman Building
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL - UK