ENVR Student Paper Competition Winner Announced

Stefano Castruccio, a PhD candidate in the department of statistics at The University of Chicago, won first place in the 2012 Environmental Statistics Student Paper Competition for his entry, “Global Space-Time Models for Climate Ensembles,” co-authored with Michael Stein, a professor at The University of Chicago. The student paper competition/travel award, sponsored by the American Statistical Association, gives students the opportunity to attend and present their paper at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings in August.

Castruccio’s paper, which develops a statistical model for analyzing climate models, is part of his dissertation, which aims to provide geophysicists with statistical tools for better understanding climate change.

“Statistical models for global processes are a topic that was largely ignored by statisticians until about 10 years ago,” says co-author Stein. “Part of what makes the problem hard is capturing how most global processes look very different at different latitudes.”

“The paper by Castruccio and Stein addressed a major issue in environmetrics in that it focused on global climate modeling,” said Medical University of South Carolina Professor Andrew Lawson, who chaired the selection committee. “Hence it scored highly from that viewpoint. It was also highly innovative and received most votes overall across relevance and innovation categories.”

This work was motivated by the problem of providing fast approximations to the output of complex climate models as part of RDCEP, the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy, an NSF-supported partnership established by The University of Chicago with several universities and national laboratories.