Atmosphere Ocean Science Colloquium

Inferring causation from time series with perspectives in Earth system sciences

Speaker: Jakob Runge

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 3:30 p.m.


The heart of the scientific enterprise is a rational effort to understand the causes behind the phenomena we observe. In disciplines dealing with complex dynamical systems, such as the Earth system, replicated real experiments are rarely feasible. However, a rapidly increasing amount of observational and simulated data opens up the use of novel data-driven causal inference methods beyond the commonly adopted correlation techniques. In this talk I will present a recent Perspective Paper in Nature Communications giving an overview of causal inference methods and identify key tasks and major challenges where causal methods have the potential to advance the state-of-the-art in Earth system sciences. Several methods will be illustrated by `success' examples where causal inference methods have already led to novel insights and I will close with an outlook of this relatively new and exciting field. I will also present the causal inference benchmark platform that aims to assess the performance of causal inference methods and to help practitioners choose the right method for a particular problem.