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Scientist's Research on Climate Honored

August 15, 1997|JOHN CANALIS

A UC Irvine computer scientist this week took top honors at an international science conference for his research that promises to increase the understanding of the atmosphere and climate forecasting, campus officials said.

Padhraic Smyth, 35, an instructor with the department of information and computer science, presented his work in competition with 90 other papers at the third International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. The conference continues through Sunday at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Tennis Club. The conference has drawn about 600 computer scientists from 20 countries.

Smyth, of Santa Ana, joined UCI in April 1996.

His paper, "Detecting Atmospheric Regimes Using Cross-Validated Clustering," details a computer model he developed to prove the existence of so-called regimes or clusters in atmospheric circulation patterns in the Northern Hemisphere.

For decades, scientists suspected the existence of atmospheric regimes, recurrent structures in the atmosphere, which, if detected, could provide a new understanding of global climate patterns, much the way researchers work to predict earthquakes.

Existence of the regimes was not confirmed until Smyth developed a computer program that analyzes circulation patterns. He confirmed three regimes in the Northern Hemisphere.

Findings should help improve long-range climate forecasts for hemispheric winters. The methodology already is being used at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.

Research partners for the winning submission include Michael Gil and Kayo Ide of UCLA; Joe Roden with JPL; and Andrew Fraser of Portland State University.

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