International summer school on atmospheric teleconnections

Potsdam Summer School group photo
Participants at the recent Potsdam Summer School. 

by Sarah Perry
The Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science generously provided funding for me to travel to Germany to attend a week long Summer School in Potsdam, Berlin at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The focus of the Summer School was Atmospheric Teleconnections which was a great fit for me, as the focus of my PhD research is on the remote impacts of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

As one of 25 postgraduate students and post-docs attending the workshop, I spent the week learning from academics who are working on the GOTHAM (Globally Observed Teleconnections and their role and representation in Hierarchies of Atmospheric Models) project. Their seminars focused on a range of atmospheric phenomena, including ENSO teleconnections, the Indian Monsoon, and drivers of variability in the high-latitudes, including the North Atlantic Oscillation. A highlight was the introductory seminar given by Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, who provided an engaging and sobering overview of the climate crisis.

Part of the GOTHAM project is developing techniques that apply network analysis tools as a novel way of analysing climate data. A few of these techniques were introduced in the practical sessions throughout the week, including the application of event coincidence analysis to identify global precipitation and temperature extreme events that can be attributed to ENSO, which my group and I worked on. (If you’re interested, get in touch and I can point you in the direction of the python packages that are being developed).

At the end of the Summer School the organisers arranged a river cruise, which was a great way to spend a sunny afternoon in Potsdam and relax after an intensive week. The Summer School was a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of climate science and meet new people working in similar fields and I’d encourage other postgraduate students to take up similar opportunities during their candidature. 

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