• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

A new framework for inferring Earth's past climate

Eos Transactions, American Geophysical Union (2011)
Tingley M, Wahl E and Cook E
DOI: 10.1029/2011EO360003
Vol 92; Issue 36: pp. 299

Bayesian Hierarchical Models for Climate Field Reconstruction; Palisades, New York, 8–11 February 2011

Inferring Earth's past climate from noisy, incomplete proxy time series remains an important challenge in the geosciences. Bayesian hierarchical models (BHMs), which have theoretical advantages over established regression methods based on empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs), are a powerful new method for spatially explicit climate field reconstruction. Whereas EOF-based approaches involve projecting the proxy and instrumental data sets onto reduced subspaces and then assuming a linear relationship between these transformed variables, BHMs allow for scientific knowledge about the target climate field to be included at the process level of the hierarchy and for each data type to have a different functional relationship with that target field. A workshop held at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University provided in-depth exposure to BHMs for climate reconstructions to researchers who currently use EOF-based multivariate regression models for inferring past climate. In addition, the workshop explored how other established methods perform in relation to BHMs and examined the ability of each approach to characterize reconstruction uncertainties in practice.

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