Simon J Mason

Simon J Mason
Columbia University | CU · International Research Institute for Climate and Society

PhD

About

137
Publications
29,420
Reads
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8,489
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2003 - present
Columbia University
Position
  • Chief Climate Scientist

Publications

Publications (137)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent research has highlighted the potential for improving predictive skill at the subseasonal timescale, which could be the basis for enhanced, actionable forecasts for climate services involving water and disaster management, health, energy and food security. Projects such as WMOʼs World Weather and World Climate Research Programmeʼs Subseasonal...
Article
Full-text available
Little has been documented about the benefits and impacts of the recent growth in climate services, despite a growing call to justify their value and stimulate investment. Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs), an integral part of the public and private enterprise of climate services, have been implemented over the last 20 years with the objectiv...
Article
Full-text available
Though not a sufficient condition, the ability to reproduce key elements of climate variability over the historical record should be a minimum requirement for placing any confidence in a model’s climate forecasts or projections of climate change. When projections are used to guide practical adaptation, model evaluations should focus on the weather...
Article
Full-text available
Producing probabilistic subseasonal forecasts of extreme events up to six weeks in advance is crucial for many economic sectors. In agribusiness, this time-scale is particularly critical because it allows for mitigation strategies to be adopted for counteracting weather hazards and taking advantage of opportunities. For example, spring frosts are d...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Successful climate services often involve the use of tailored regional climate forecasts at one or multiple timescales. The way those forecasts are implemented is not always straightforward, and depends on several different factors, like which variables, models and calibration methods to use, how to produce the ensemble and tailoring, or even how t...
Article
Full-text available
Climate resilience is increasingly prioritized by international development agencies and national governments. However, current approaches to informing communities of future climate risk are problematic. The predominant focus on end‐of‐century projections neglects more pressing development concerns, which relate to the management of shorter‐term ri...
Article
East Africa experiences chronic food insecurity, with levels varying from year-to-year across the region. Given that much can be done to prevent this level of suffering before it happens, humanitarian agencies monitor early indicators of food insecurity to trigger early action. Forecasts of total seasonal rainfall are one tool used to monitor and a...
Preprint
During the austral summer 2015/16, severe flooding displaced over 170 000 people on the Paraguay River system in Paraguay, Argentina, and southern Brazil. These floods were driven by repeated heavy rainfall events in the lower Paraguay River basin. Alternating sequences of enhanced moisture inflow from the South American low-level jet and local con...
Chapter
Chapter 4 describes the basic components of weather and climate, and a common theme throughout is that there is considerable variability in space and in time. In this chapter, we start by describing and explaining how climate varies by location, by considering the effects of altitude, latitude and other aspects of geography on the climate. We then...
Chapter
Weather and climate vary on multiple timescales (§§ 3.2 and §§ 5.3), and climate information (historical, current or future) must target the specific time and space scales of the decisions being made. Observed climate is the result of the interaction of natural climate variability and the anthropogenic climate-change signal associated with increasi...
Book
Policy-makers are increasingly concerned about the impact of climate variability and change on the health of vulnerable populations. Variations and trends in climatic factors and extreme weather events impact many health outcomes, including malaria, heat stress and undernutrition. Climate Information for Public Health Action is based on the premi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
After successful eradication measures in the 1950s, the East African Highlands observed an unexpected resurgence of malaria in the 1990s. Although the epidemic episodes decreased again during the mid-2000s, they caused high mortality and morbidity rates in the population for over a decade. In addition to changes in herd immunity and control operati...
Article
During the austral summer 2015/16, severe flooding displaced over 170 000 people on the Paraguay River system in Paraguay, Argentina, and southern Brazil. These floods were driven by repeated heavy rainfall events in the lower Paraguay River basin. Alternating sequences of enhanced moisture inflow from the South American low-level jet and local con...
Preprint
Full-text available
During the austral summer 2015-16, severe flooding displaced over 170 000 people on the Paraguay River system in Paraguay, Argentina, and Southern Brazil. These floods were driven by repeated heavy rainfall events in the Lower Paraguay River Basin. Alternating sequences of enhanced moisture inflow from the South American Low-Level Jet and local con...
Article
Full-text available
Extreme temperatures are one of the leading causes of death and disease in both developed and developing countries, and heat extremes are projected to rise in many regions. To reduce risk, heatwave plans and cold weather plans have been effectively implemented around the world. However, much of the world's population is not yet protected by such sy...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent research has highlighted the potential for improving predictive skill at the sub-seasonal timescale, which could be the basis for enhanced, actionable forecasts for climate services involving water and disaster management, health, energy and food security. The WMO's World Weather and World Climate Research Programmes Subseasonal-to-Seasonal...
Poster
Full-text available
During the austral summer 2015-16, severe flooding displaced over 170000 people on the Paraguay River system in Paraguay, Argentina, and Southern Brazil. These floods were driven by repeated heavy rainfall events in the Lower Paraguay River Basin. Alternating sequences of enhanced moisture inflow from the South American Low-Level Jet and local conv...
Article
This study explores the predictive skill of seasonal rainfall characteristics for the irst rainy (and planting) season, May–June, in Central America. Statistical predictive models were built using a Model Output Statistics (MOS) technique based on canonical correlation analysis, in which variables that forecast with the Climate Forecast System vers...
Article
Full-text available
In many regions around the world, Regional Climate Forums (RCOFs) provide seasonal climate information and forecasts to decision-makers at regional and national levels. Despite the two decades of experience, the forums have not been systematically monitored or evaluated. To address this gap, and to better inform nascent and widespread efforts in cl...
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes a heat wave definition for Bangladesh that could be used to trigger preparedness measures in a heat early warning system (HEWS) and explores the climate mechanisms associated with heat waves. A HEWS requires a definition of heat waves that is both related to human health outcomes and forecastable. No such definition has been dev...
Article
Full-text available
In light of strong encouragement for disaster managers to use climate services for flood preparation, we question whether seasonal rainfall forecasts should indeed be used as indicators of the likelihood of flooding. Here, we investigate the primary indicators of flooding at the seasonal timescale across sub-Saharan Africa. Given the sparsity of hy...
Article
Full-text available
In light of strong encouragement for disaster managers to use climate services for flood preparation, we question whether seasonal rainfall forecasts should indeed be used as indicators of the likelihood of flooding. Here, we investigate the primary drivers of flooding at the seasonal timescale across sub-Saharan Africa. Given the sparsity of hydro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Five different numerical model forecasts were used to predict daily rainfall totals, with lead times of day 1 and day 2 for the period of January 2011 to March 2015. ERA-Interim daily 12 UTC 850 hPa circulation and African Rainfall Climatology rainfall fields were used to cluster the days into 35 nodes, each assigned to one of 8 identified rain-bea...
Article
Full-text available
Too often, credible scientific early warning information of increased disaster risk does not result in humanitarian action. With financial resources tilted heavily towards response after a disaster, disaster managers have limited incentive and ability to process complex scientific data, including uncertainties. These incentives are beginning to cha...
Article
This study describes a systematic approach to selecting optimal statistical recalibration methods and hindcast designs for producing reliable probability forecasts on seasonal-to-decadal time scales. A new recalibration method is introduced that includes adjustments for both unconditional and conditional biases in the mean and variance of the forec...
Article
Full-text available
Potential and real predictive skill of the frequency of extreme rainfall in South East South America for the December-February season are evaluated in this paper, finding evidence indicating that mechanisms of climate variability at one timescale contribute to the predictability at another scale, i.e., taking into account the interference of differ...
Article
Full-text available
Too often, credible scientific early warning information of increased disaster risk does not result in humanitarian action. With financial resources tilted heavily towards response after a disaster, disaster managers have limited incentive and ability to process complex scientific data, including uncertainties. These incentives are beginning to cha...
Code
The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) is a software package for constructing a seasonal climate forecast model, performing model validation, and producing forecasts given updated data. Its design has been tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts using model output statistic (MOS) corrections to climate predictions from general circulation...
Code
The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) is a software package for constructing a seasonal climate forecast model, performing model validation, and producing forecasts given updated data. Its design has been tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts using model output statistic (MOS) corrections to climate predictions from general circulation...
Code
The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) is a software package for constructing a seasonal climate forecast model, performing model validation, and producing forecasts given updated data. Its design has been tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts using model output statistic (MOS) corrections to climate predictions from general circulation...
Code
The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) is a software package for constructing a seasonal climate forecast model, performing model validation, and producing forecasts given updated data. Its design has been tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts using model output statistic (MOS) corrections to climate predictions from general circulation...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract: Prediction of heavy rainfall over northeastern part of Bangladesh is a challenging job. Attempt hastherefore been made to make out the variability of monsoon rainfall, rainy days and frequencies of classifiedrainfall with their trends over northeastern part of Bangladesh using the daily rainfall data recorded at Srimangaland Sylhet. It is...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report provides peacebuilding practitioners with guidance for accessing and using climate data and information in fragile contexts. It describes some of the challenges to generating, accessing and understanding climate information in contexts of state fragility. It introduces the types of climate information relevant to national and internatio...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes the work of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and its partners towards the development of climate services for the health sector in Africa; integrating research, operational applications and capacity building alongside policy development and advocacy. It follows the evolution of IRI’s health wor...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The International Research and Application Project (IRAP) hosted a two-day workshop that followed the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF). The workshop contributed to and advanced discussions about the application and impacts of seasonal climate information. It also focused on developing partnerships for future projects that help develop regi...
Article
Since 2005, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre have had an ongoing partnership with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) to connect end-users with providers of climate information. This partnership has enabled and encouraged the uptake of c...
Code
The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) is a software package for constructing a seasonal climate forecast model, performing model validation, and producing forecasts given updated data. Its design has been tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts using model output statistic (MOS) corrections to climate predictions from general circulation...
Code
The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) is a software package for constructing a seasonal climate forecast model, performing model validation, and producing forecasts given updated data. Its design has been tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts using model output statistic (MOS) corrections to climate predictions from general circulation...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
An empirical downscaling technique to predict daily fog occurrence at Cape Town International Airport from low-level atmospheric circulation is developed by using the Principal Component Regression option of the Climate Predictability Tool. NCEP 12UTC sea-level pressure data fields are the predictors in the empirical model and the occurrence of fog...
Article
Full-text available
Decadal predictions have a high profile in the climate science community and beyond, yet very little is known about their skill. Nor is there any agreed protocol for estimating their skill. This paper proposes a sound and coordinated framework for verification of decadal hindcast experiments. The framework is illustrated for decadal hindcasts tailo...
Code
The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) is a software package for constructing a seasonal climate forecast model, performing model validation, and producing forecasts given updated data. Its design has been tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts using model output statistic (MOS) corrections to climate predictions from general circulation...
Article
There is a growing and urgent need to improve society's resilience to climate-related hazards and better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and climate change.
Article
In 2008, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) used a seasonal forecast for West Africa for the first time to implement an Early Warning, Early Action strategy for enhanced flood preparedness and response. Interviews with disaster managers suggest that this approach improved their capacity and response. Relief...
Chapter
IntroductionForecast formatsMeasuring attributes of forecast qualityMeasuring the quality of individual forecastsDecadal and longer-range forecast verificationSummary
Article
Full-text available
In 2008, the seasonal forecast issued at the Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum for West Africa (PRESAO) announced a high risk of above-normal rainfall for the July–September rainy season. With probabilities for above-normal rainfall of 0.45, this forecast indicated noteworthy increases in the risk of heavy rainfall. When this information reached the I...
Article
This article refers to the study of Mason and Weigel, where the generalized discrimination score D has been introduced. This score quantifies whether a set of observed outcomes can be correctly discriminated by the corresponding forecasts (i.e., it is a measure of the skill attribute of discrimination). Because of its generic definition, D can be a...
Article
This paper evaluates the quality of real-time seasonal probabilistic forecasts of the extreme 15% tails of the climatological distribution of temperature and precipitation issued by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) from 1998 through 2009. IRI's forecasts have been based largely on a two-tiered multimodel dynamical...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonal prediction is based on changes in the probability of weather statistics due to changes in slowly varying forcings such as sea-surface temperature anomalies, most notably those associated with El Niňo–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). However, seasonal weather can be perturbed by many factors, and is very much influenced by internal variability...
Article
Full-text available
A comprehensive review of regional capabilities to produce climate information for risk management around the world is done. Data access, quality control and the potential use of regional reanalyses is explained. Progress on seasonal forecast techniques, the increasing skill of statistical and dynamical methods and the challenges on dynamical downs...
Data
A comprehensive review of regional capabilities to produce climate information for risk management around the world is done. Data access, quality control and the potential use of regional reanalyses is explained. Progress on seasonal forecast techniques, the increasing skill of statistical and dynamical methods and the challenges on dynamical downs...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the quality of seasonal probabilistic forecasts of near-global temperature and precipitation issued by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) from late 1997 through 2008, using mainly a two-tiered multimodel dynamical prediction system. Skill levels, while modest when globally averaged, depend markedl...
Article
Full-text available
This is the second of a two-part investigation of rainfall in southern Africa during the strong El Nino of 1997/98. In Part I it was shown that widespread drought in southern Africa, typical of past El Nino events occurring between 1950 and 2000, generally failed to materialize during the 1997/98 El Nino, most notably during January-March (JFM) 199...
Article
There are numerous reasons for calculating forecast verification scores, and considerable attention has been given to designing and analyzing the properties of scores that can be used for scientific purposes. Much less attention has been given to scores that may be useful for administrative reasons, such as communicating changes in forecast quality...
Article
There are a variety of multivariate statistical methods for analyzing the relations between two datasets. Two commonly used methods are canonical correlation analysis (CCA) and maximum covariance analysis (MCA), which find the projections of the data onto coupled patterns with maximum correlation and covariance, respectively. These projections are...
Article
Although there are numerous reasons for performing a verification analysis, there are usually two general questions that are of interest: are the forecasts good, and can we be confident that the estimate of forecast quality is not misleading? When calculating a verification score, it is not usually obvious how the score can answer either of these q...
Article
Full-text available
Research and development of new verification strategies and reassessment of traditional forecast verification methods has received a groat deal of attention from the scientific community in the last decade. This scientific effort has arisen from the need to respond to changes encompassing several aspects of the verification process, such as the evo...
Chapter
Full-text available
Statistical models provide an alternative approach to using dynamical models in seasonal climate forecasting. In statistical models relationships between one set of data, the predictors, and a second set, the predictands, are sought. Common predictands include seasonal mean temperatures and accumulated precipitation, and are typically predicted usi...
Chapter
Full-text available
The enthusiasm for engaging the challenges of Seasonal to Interannual Prediction, both within the disciplines of physical and social sciences and at their interface, was well demonstrated through the energetic engagement of all during the May to June 2005 NATO ASI course, upon which this book is based. Several panel sessions were held during the co...
Chapter
Producing a seasonal climate forecast from a dynamical model involves a great deal more than simply running the model and viewing the results. The first problem is to decide which dynamical model(s) should be run given the practical constraints of computing resources. In this chapter the pros and cons of using the more computationally intensive ful...
Chapter
Full-text available
When seasonal climate forecasts are expressed probabilistically, it is not possible to answer simple questions such as “how often are the forecasts correct?” The simpler attributes of forecast quality, such as “accuracy” or “correctness” are not applicable to probabilistic forecasts, and instead the main attributes of interest are: reliability, whi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Although it is impossible to forecast the weather more than a few days in advance, the science of seasonal climate forecasting is premised upon an ability to predict the general weather conditions over a prolonged period of time, without trying to predict the precise weather at any specific time during that period. The forecasting is possible only...
Chapter
Following on from the previous Chapter are three contributions that cover the remaining “classical” areas for applicatio ns (alongside agriculture) of hydrology and health. Water management is the focus in the first section, in which a number of projects are described whereby historical and forecast information is used directly in planning specific...