PhD defence: Finding causal links and resilience indicators in climate time series

PhD Candidate: Els Weinans

Defence date:  October 18 2021

Time: 16.00

Institute: Wageningen University & Research

Location: The Aula, Wageningen.

Address: Generaal Foulkesweg 1, 6703 BG Wageningen


Climate change, biodiversity decline and science skepticism are three challenges currently faced by science and society. These problems are characterized by their complex nature, meaning that they are composed of many interacting elements. The behaviour of such complex systems is often non-linear, highly unpredictable, and occuring on multiple scales which complicates their analysis. This PhD project explores some old and some new analysis tools to infer the dynamics of complex systems. The first set of metrics are multivariate indicators of resilience loss, that can tell when a system becomes more sensitive to outside perturbations. This can for example be used to distinguish between safe and unsafe perturbations. The second set of metrics are based on Taken’s theorem that teaches us that sometimes one variable in the system contains enough information to reconstruct some properties of the full system. I use this principle as a way to quantify complexity and to detect causal links in the climate system.