Environmental statistician Mark Risser ’07 talks climate change and modeling at Suter Science Seminar

In the second of seven Suter Science Seminars this fall at Eastern Mennonite University, Mark Risser, a postdoctoral research fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California, will discuss Statistical Methods for Characterizing Changes in Extreme Precipitation Over the Continental United States.

The seminar, at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11 in Science Center 106, is free and open to the public.

Risser works with the CASCADE project, and is a visiting scholar and lecturer for the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his undergraduate mathematics degree from EMU in 2007, and worked in admissions at EMU for three years. In 2015, he received his Phd in statistics from the Ohio State University. His primary research is in spatial/environmental statistics and Bayesian modeling, but he also has interests in extreme value analysis and computational methods.

This seminar demonstrates how spatial statistics, combined with extreme value analysis, can be used to analyze a large dataset of precipitation measurements over the continental United States (CONUS). The results of this analysis are used to describe the impact of climate change on storms that yield large amounts of rainfall and identify regions of CONUS that can expect to see intensifying precipitation in future years.

Statistics is the science of using data to draw conclusions and make decisions, and statisticians use mathematical tools to develop methods for analyzing and interpreting empirical data. A highly interdisciplinary field, one application of statistics is in climate science, where the goal is often to characterize changes in atmospheric processes such as precipitation over time and across a topographically diverse geographic domain.

The Suter Science Seminars are made possible by the sponsorship of the Daniel B. Suter Endowment in Biology and the co-sponsorship of supporting programs.

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