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Climate Extremes and Decision-making: it’s all about the models
2nd February 3:00 PM – 5:30 PM GMT
Prediction of the impacts of climate change is one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity, crucial tools that will support policy, business and civil society in planning mitigations – everything from the pricing of insurance to building community resilience and the speed of decarbonisation. Just as in the work done to demonstrate human impacts on the climate, much of the heavy-lifting falls on the creation of predictive computer models that integrate scientific evidence. However for predictions of the impact of climate change and the actions we might take requires models that are not only about the science, but also about the economic and social impact – so that policy makers, politicians, companies and citizens can debate resources and make trade-offs. This makes them inherently the site of controversy.
In this session two eminent scientists, Prof Chris Dent and Prof Gabi Hegerl will explore the science, maths, and computing that makes these models possible and discuss what they can and cannot do, how much we need them, and how much we can or cannot rely on them.
Prof Chris Dent
Chris Dent is Professor of Industrial Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, and a Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. He has broad interests across energy and infrastructure analysis, climate resilience, and decision support in public policy. He currently works on a number of industrial innovation projects, and holds a KE Catalyst grant from the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences to support the Global Power System Transformation consortium with their research agenda in system planning, control rooms, and AI. In 2021-2 he was Technical Lead for the National Digital Twin programme Climate Resilience Demonstrator. As well as working in a School of Mathematics, he is also a Chartered Engineer.
Prof Gabi Hegerl
Gabi Hegerl is a Professor in Climate Change Science, School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh. She is Fellow of the Royal Society, the Leopoldina, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society. She has received the Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award and the Hans Sigrist Prize of the University of Bern. She co-leads the World Climate Research Programme lighthouse activity ‘safe landing climates‘; and has co-led their Grand Challenge on Extremes. She researches causes of climate change, including in temperature and precipitation, from the recent period to the last millennium, and has used this evidence to constrain future climate change, with a special interest in climate extremes, for example, heat waves, compound extremes and impacts of extremes.