Statistics in Climate Change

On Friday 13th October, Headington’s Sixth Form mathematicians were treated to a live online talk by the Royal Statistical Society William Guy Lecturer, Eleanor D’Arcy.

Her title was, ‘How can statistics protect us against extreme sea levels resulting from climate change?’ but she also spoke about her personal journey as a mathematician starting with a BSc Mathematics, MRes Statistics and now a PhD in Environmental Statistics!

Her doubts about her own ability when embarking on the next stage were a common theme and she encouraged everyone to above all pursue studies in the subjects they enjoy the most.

All students were familiar with most of the mathematics used in her presentation and it was fantastic to see A Level concepts such as linear regression, correlation, trigonometric graphs and statistical distributions being used in real life.

She discussed the importance of statistically modelling extreme events and demonstrated how this is fundamental in our fight against climate change, to highlight the significance of statistical research in the real world.

One of Headington’s Maths prefects, Sherie, asked whether Eleanor’s interest in modelling sea levels arose from her A Level in Geography and also whether the study of hydrology came into her work.

Mrs Sarah Sandys, Head of Mathematics said: “It was a fantastic talk which really brought the study of Mathematics to life.”