Tracking climate change through the spatiotemporal dynamics of the Teletherms: The statistically hottest and coldest days of the year
PLoS ONE, 11 (5), e0154184, 2016
Abstract: Instabilities and long term shifts in seasons, whether induced by natural drivers or human activities, pose great disruptive threats to ecological, agricultural, and social systems. Here, we propose, quantify, and explore two fundamental markers of seasonal variations: the Summer and Winter Teletherms—the on-average annual dates of the hottest and coldest days of the year. We analyse daily temperature extremes recorded at 1218 stations across the contiguous United States from 1853–2012 to obtain estimates of the Teletherms, and to characterize their spatial and temporal dynamics. We observe substantial regional variation with the Summer Teletherm falling up to 90 days after the Summer Solstice, and 50 days for the Winter Teletherm after the Winter Solstice, and that in many locations, the Teletherm is better described as one or more sequences of dates—the Teletherm Period. We show Teletherm temporal dynamics are substantive with clear and in some cases dramatic changes moving across broad regions, suggesting links to climate change. We also compare recorded daily temperature extremes with output from two weather models finding considerable though relatively unbiased error.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).