Negligent killing of scientific concepts: the stationarity case

D. Koutsoyiannis, and A. Montanari, Negligent killing of scientific concepts: the stationarity case, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 60 (7-8), 1174–1183, doi:10.1080/02626667.2014.959959, 2015.

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[English]

In the scientific vocabulary, the term “process” is used to denote change in time. Even a stationary process describes a system changing in time, rather than a static one which keeps a constant state all the time. However, this is often missed, which has led to misusing the term “nonstationarity” as a synonym of “change”. A simple rule to avoid such misuse is to answer the question: can the change be predicted in deterministic terms? Only if the answer is positive it is legitimate to invoke nonstationarity. In addition, we should have in mind that models are made to simulate the future rather than to describe the past; the past is rather characterized by observations (data). Usually future changes are not deterministically predictable and thus the models should, on the one hand, be stationary and, on the other hand, describe in stochastic terms the full variability, originating from all agents of change. Even if the past evolution of the process of interest contains changes explainable in deterministic terms (e.g. urbanization), again it is better to describe the future conditions in stationary terms, after “stationarizing” the past observations, i.e. adapting them to represent the future conditions.

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See also: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2014.959959

Our works referenced by this work:

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Our works that reference this work:

1. A. Montanari, and D. Koutsoyiannis, Modeling and mitigating natural hazards: Stationarity is immortal!, Water Resources Research, 50 (12), 9748–9756, doi:10.1002/2014WR016092, 2014.
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Works that cite this document: View on Google Scholar or ResearchGate

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2. Andrés-Doménech, I., R. García-Bartual, A. Montanari and J. B. Marco, Climate and hydrological variability: the catchment filtering role, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19 (1), 379-387, 2015.
3. Serinaldi, F., and C.G. Kilsby, Stationarity is undead: Uncertainty dominates the distribution of extremes, Advances in Water Resources, 77, 17-36, 2015.
4. Steinschneider, S., and U. Lall, A hierarchical Bayesian regional model for nonstationary precipitation extremes in Northern California conditioned on tropical moisture exports, Water Resources Research, 51 (3), 1472-1492, 2015.
5. Ceola, S., B. Arheimer, E. Baratti, G. Blöschl, R. Capell, A. Castellarin, J. Freer, D. Han, M. Hrachowitz, Y. Hundecha, C. Hutton, G. Lindström, A. Montanari, R. Nijzink, J. Parajka, E. Toth, A. Viglione and T. Wagener, Virtual laboratories: New opportunities for collaborative water science, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 19 (4), 2101-2117, 2015.
6. Serinaldi, F., Can we tell more than we can know? The limits of bivariate drought analyses in the United States, Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, 10.1007/s00477-015-1124-3, 2015.
7. Kundzewicz, Z. W., V. Krysanova, R. Dankers, Y. Hirabayashi, S. Kanae, F. F. Hattermann, S. Huang, P. C. D. Milly, M. Stoffel, P. P. J. Driessen, P. Matczak, P. Quevauviller, and H.-J. Schellnhuber, Differences in flood hazard projections in Europe – their causes and consequences for decision making, Hydrological Sciences Journal, doi:10.1080/02626667.2016.1241398, 2016.

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