Inferring causation from time series of complex systems with perspectives in Earth system sciences
- Jakob Runge (Climate Informatics Group, German Aerospace Center, Jena, Germany)
The heart of the scientific enterprise is a rational effort to understand the causes behind the phenomena we observe. In disciplines dealing with complex dynamical systems, such as the Earth system, replicated real experiments are rarely feasible. However, a rapidly increasing amount of observational and simulated data opens up the use of novel data-driven causal inference methods beyond the commonly adopted correlation techniques. In this talk I will present a recent Perspective Paper in Nature Communications giving an overview of causal inference methods and identify key tasks and major challenges where causal methods have the potential to advance the state-of-the-art in Earth system sciences. I will also present the causal inference benchmark platform www.causeme.net that aims to assess the performance of causal inference methods and to help practitioners choose the right method for a particular problem.
Runge, J., S. Bathiany, E. Bollt, G. Camps-Valls, D. Coumou, E. Deyle, C. Glymour, M. Kretschmer, M. D. Mahecha, J. Muñoz-Marı́, E. H. van Nes, J. Peters, R. Quax, M. Reichstein, M. Scheffer, B. Schölkopf, P. Spirtes, G. Sugihara, J. Sun, K. Zhang, and J. Zscheischler (2019). Inferring causation from time series in earth system sciences. Nature Communications 10 (1), 2553