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Learning from hypotheses and failures in hydrology | PICO
Conveners: Hannes Müller-Thomy , Inge Wiekenkamp  | Co-Conveners: Anne Fangmann , Georg Houben , Ina Pohle , Michael Stockinger , Lena M. Tallaksen , Tim van Emmerik , Seth Westra 
 / Mon, 24 Apr, 15:30–17:00

Testing hypothesis and learning from failures are essential in hydrological research. Monitoring frameworks and modelling approaches strongly depend on hypotheses, assumptions, and can, at the same time, be hampered by failures or mistakes. We pose the question whether we, as hydrologists, are open to see beyond the looking glass of our a priori formulated hypotheses. Can we be sure to trust our models if we are focused on fitting the data? Falsifying existing hypotheses can be challenging, but extremely useful for future scientific progress. Is all hope lost if the model does not fit the data? Failures (in applying established methods) can also increase the researcher’s comprehension of their work, give unexpected insight into unacquainted processes and even may bring to light scientific breakthroughs.

The aim of this session is twofold and offers (a) the opportunity to share applications and thoughts on hypothesis testing and (b) the chance to share your (personal) experience and expertise regarding failures and what you learned from them in hydrological research. The session will present insights into hypothesis testing and lessons learned from failures in experimental studies, data-driven approaches and modelling studies.

We are happy to announce Josie Geris (University of Aberdeen) and James Kirchner (ETH Zürich) as confirmed invited speakers for this session.

In cooperation with the Young Hydrologic Society (

Public information: IMPORTANT: the second PICO talk by Josie Geris will take 10 minutes - all other presentations following are therefore 8 minutes shifted