Student-organized Seminar Series Sponsored by DIMACS and the Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA)

Title: Interpreting the noisy geological record of ancient climate changes: An informal discussion about using the past to learn about the future

Speaker: Robert Kopp, Rutgers Energy Institute and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:00pm - 1:00 pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 433, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


Over the last two centuries, humanity has become a geological force, inducing environmental conditions like those that Earth has not experienced for millions of years. Piecing together Earth's past environments, peering through the veil of geological uncertainty with the aid of process models and statistics, can thus provide crucial insights into our future. In my Statistics Department seminar on Wednesday, I will will discuss the statistical and algorithmic challenges of inferring past sea level and ice sheet changes from geological observations, while taking into account both uncertainties and our understanding of the relevant physics, and explore what inferred sea level during past warm periods may be able to tell us about the stability of ice sheets in the coming centuries. At lunch on Thursday, we will continue the discussion of the statistical challenges of interpreting ancient environmental changes in an informal setting.