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Leader of Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Modelling - CCIAM

Rui Perdigão


Physics of evolutionary complexity Nonlinear dynamics Earth system dynamics

Rui A. P. Perdigão is chair professor in Physics of Complex Systems, interuniversity chair in Fluid Dynamical Systems, endowed professorial chair in Climate System Dynamics,  president of the Meteoceanics Institute for Complex System Science (MICSS) and director of the associated Doctoral School, where he heads a large ecclectic set of international academic and research programs. Moreover, Rui Perdigão serves as Editor in international scientific journals including the EGU journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD), along with international journal and project review panels. More recently (2020), Rui Perdigão was elected corresponding member of the prestigious Academy of Sciences in Lisbon, joining the section of Physics.

In Portugal, Rui collaborates with the Doctoral Program on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies (PDACPDS), a joint venture among Universidade de Lisboa, Universidade Nova de Lisboa and the University of East Anglia (UK). There, he coordinates and lectures specially tailored versions of his MICSS doctoral courses on Complex System Dynamics and on Interdisciplinary Data Analytics and Model Design. Moreover, he is involved in thesis supervision, coordinating the works on doctoral candidates revolving around mathematical and complex system dynamic approaches to unveil dynamic understanding and predictability to interdisciplinary earth system dynamic and socio-environmental problems in a changing climate.

At the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c), Rui Perdigão is primarily affiliated to CCIAM (Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Modelling) which he presently represents, while also pursuing cross-disciplinary work relevant to the broader cE3c. Among Rui's activities of special relevance to the Centre, one would highlight his scientific and academic innovation in the Physics of Coevolutionary Complexity, bridging information physics with dynamical systems and far-from-equilibrium statistical physics to formulate fundamental principles in the mathematical physics of complex coevolutionary systems and unveiling hidden predictability and dynamical understanding. Of special relevance are also his methodological advances in complex system modelling and nonlinear big data analytics, along with applications to the development of robust prediction and decision support tools to address environmental extremes and other disruptive structural-functional criticalities in the coevolutionary Earth System.

Rui Pita Perdigão obtained a Doctorate in Physics with the highest honours from the University of Lisbon in 2010. His doctoral works were mostly developed abroad as a visiting scientist to international research centres in Italy (NURC-NATO) and Belgium (RMI-Spacepole), and were funded by an individual grant from the Portuguese Science Foundation.

He has later moved to Vienna, Austria, where he has been conducting independent and collaborative research on the dynamics and predictability of complex systems, from theoretical and methodological research in nonlinear science and information theory, to the investigation of fundamental mechanisms underlying synergistic and coevolutionary complexity in the Earth System, along with the development of novel analytical, modelling and decision support frameworks for institutions entrusted with protecting the society and the environment.

Also in Vienna, Rui Pita Perdigão has taken part in the core team of the international “Flood Change” consortium, headquartered at TU Wien and funded by the European Research Council. There, he has served as the Earth System Dynamics representative, responsible for the development of mathematical physics methods for deciphering coevolutionary hydro-climate dynamics and river flood changes in the light of complex Earth System interactions.

Moreover, he has been establishing a new international network in Earth System Dynamics, Analytics and Predictability, organizing international workshops and coordinating international conference sessions on Nonlinear Geophysics and Hydroclimate Dynamics, e.g. at AGU and EGU, along with academia-industry transfer of knowledge and outreach activities.

In the scope of his chair, Rui Perdigão has developed a mathematical physics theory linking interaction information signatures in multiscale geophysical fluid dynamics with underlying mechanisms grounded on nonlinear scale interactions and synergistic emergence in wave mechanics and fluid flow. In doing so, his advances have brought out novel physical insights on polyadic wave resonance among planetary, synoptic and mesoscale waves in fundamental fluid dynamic terms, explaining observed information-theoretical and nonlinear signatures of emergence, and shedding further light on elusive emergent behaviours in multiscale flows, e.g. behind far from equilibrium transient dynamics behind “extreme” meteorological phenomena.

Moreover, Rui has introduced a non-ergodic coevolutionary theory of information physics, generalising information theory to encompass far-from-equilibrium statistical mechanics, where there is event codependence and the traditional information measures do not hold. His novel methodologies unveil and quantify elusive synergistic and coevolutionary predictability beyond post-critical spatiotemporal memory loss, long after nonlinear multi-information vanishes. The collapse of dynamic regimes and nonlinear memory in far-from-equilibrium non-ergodic dynamics is thus no longer an obstacle to system understanding and prediction.

The theoretical advances from Rui Pita Perdigão are now shedding light onto fundamental problems ranging across scales from evolutionary open quantum systems to coevolutionary earth system dynamics and thermodynamic cosmology, peering into the fundamental Physics of Evolutionary Complexity.




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