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Greencycles II

Greencycles II

TW1 - Statistical analysis and synthesis of climate data

Event Dates: 26th-29th July 2011
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Organisers: Niki Gruber and Meike Vogt, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
ECTS Point Allocation: 3

TW1 Group

From July 26-29, 19 GREENCYCLESII and 3 external participants participated in TW1 on the statistical analysis of environmental data. The course covered a large number of statistical topics, such as univariate and multi-variate analyses (regressions, distributions, correlations), time series analysis (spectra and trends), principal component and empirical orthogonal function analysis.

Every morning, participants assembled freshly and happily in our computer lab to listen to introductory talks by Niki on the theory behind the next topic to be treated during the course. They then proceeded to try and code the method in Matlab under the careful supervision of Colleen, Charlotte, Meike and Matt. Once the code miraculously worked, participants were able to discuss their results together with their fellow fellows, studying different regions of the ocean and selecting different parameter settings. In general, solutions presented themselves in the form of 2-dimensional patterns of dots and lines, crossing wiggly lines in different colours, and in the best case plots of the global ocean in all the shades of the rainbow. Example solutions were available, so that participants could compare their results to an existing code. Composing a working Matlab script revealed itself to be quite a challenge, even if the theory behind a particular statistical method was understood. Hence, experimentalists had the chance to experience the everyday struggle of modellers to find that one single faulty line of code, and modellers had the chance to show their colleagues how life behind a computer screens feels like.

In the evenings, participants explored Zurich nightlife, enjoyed a boat trip and a workshop dinner on the shore of Lake Zurich, a trip which for some included a moonlight dip in the lake. We ended the workshop with a sight-seeing hike to the near-by mountain Uetliberg and watched the announced meteorite shower over the illuminated pattern of night-time Zurich city. Participants left Zurich exhausted but happy, already looking forward to the next workshop, network meeting or secondment, where new friendships will be deepened further, new and exotic places will be discovered – and interesting science will be discussed.


  1. Chao Ting Chang, CREAF, Spain – GC
  2. Katherine Crichton, LGGE, France – GC
  3. Rozenn Keribin, University of Cambridge, UK – GC
  4. Jana Kolassa, Estellus, France – GC
  5. Alex Marti-Donati, University of Exeter, UK – GC
  6. Maria Martin Calvo, Imperial college London, UK – GC
  7. Jorge Martinez-Rey, LSCE, France – GC
  8. Dominik Sperlich, CREAF, Spain – GC
  9. Peter Landschuetzer, UEA Norwich, UK – GC
  10. Altug Ekici, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany – GC
  11. Ioannis Bistinas, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal – GC
  12. Callum Berridge, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands – GC
  13. Matteo Willeit, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany – GC
  14. Daniela Dalmonech, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany – GC
  15. László Hunor Hajdu, University of Cambridge, UK – GC
  16. Gerardo López Saldaña, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal – GC
  17. Mehera Kidston, IPSL, France – GC
  18. Payne Mark, DTU, Denmark
  19. Clement Dominic, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  20. Colleen O'Brien, ETH Zurich, Switzerland – GC
  21. Charlotte Laufkoetter , ETH Zurich, Switzerland – GC
  22. Muennich Matthias, ETH Zurich, Switzerland