Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Statistical Analysis of Climate Extremes: The Blog about the Book. Part 1: Corona

Manfred Mudelsee

Writing a blog article about a book on climate extremes in these weeks or months or years of SARS-CoV-2, the Corona virus? At the beginning of this job, I feel embarrassed since I am doing fine as regards health and work, while other humans are suffering. I am a self-employed climate researcher and have the privilege to work in my office house ten metres away from where our family is at home. My work communication is mostly via the internet or the phone. We live in a small village in southern Lower Saxony, Germany. Our infection risk is small.

The common thing between Corona and climate extremes is the risk put on our society and economy. Risk is defined as the probability that within a time interval something bad happens, for example, someone dies from or a hurricane occurs.

The data for my book consist in the dates when the bad events happened, such as 29 August 2005, when hurricane Katrina peaked. Sometimes there is more data information, such as the maximum wind speed. Besides wind speed, the book is also about temperature extremes (heatwaves or cold spells) and precipitation extremes (floods and droughts). These three are the most relevant climate variables. The big question is how global climate change influences the occurrence of climate extremes. This plagues decision-makers as well as climate researchers.

According to Cambridge’s website, my book gives “an accessible overview of the statistical analysis methods which can be used to investigate climate extremes and analyse potential risk. The statistical analysis methods are illustrated with case studies. The book also provides datasets and access to appropriate analysis software, allowing the reader to replicate the case study calculations.” I may only add that you can use the software also to analyse your own data. There is no technical hindrance for becoming a climate risk analyst. Or a health risk analyst, if you apply my methods to medical data.

Hopefully other researchers find the book and the software tools useful. It would be great if the tools would enable them to obtain results that are of relevance to society and economy. This little blog series is about various facets of the book. This should help you to better know about the product, whether you are inclined to buy it. I would be glad to respond to your queries on the book.

Big changes in the world also offer to learn rapidly, quasi by force. Corona taught me how important it is for my company to offer the courses (on climate time series and risk analysis) also online. So, at the moment I am learning the hardware and software aspects of making video tutorials.

I am an optimistic person. I saw the fast and drastic reactions of the decision-makers on the Corona risk, in my country and worldwide. I sincerely believe that mankind has the ability to react adequately also to the risks imposed by climate change. In this area, we have more time than now on the virus: slightly more. This must not make us say “after the virus”. The next one will come. We have to live with both. Viruses and climate change.

Cambridge University Press is publishing a book of mine on climate extremes. It comes out in May 2020. It is available at to pre-order in print, online for individuals or online for institutions. Online material for the book is at my own academic website, https://www.manfredmudelsee.com/textbook/index.htm.

About The Author

Manfred Mudelsee

Manfred Mudelsee is founder of the research company Climate Risk Analysis, and a visiting scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. ...

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