In a warming world, extreme weather events cause more damage and economic losses than ever before. They’re one of the most visible impacts of climate change and one of the largest threats to business operations. Already this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, through the first nine months of 2021, the U.S. experienced 18 separate $1 billion disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves. (The year before hit a record 22, while the record prior to that was 16 in 2017 and 2011.)
At GreenBiz’s annual climate tech conference last week, VERGE 21, executives from companies across sectors discussed how they are looking for ways to not only predict these extreme events, but also to prepare for them.
It’s no easy task — conventional weather forecasting strategies based on historical averages of weather and climate data can’t keep up with the current levels of climate variability. The past is no longer a predictor of the future.
Good risk management in the climate change era requires precise knowledge of the factors that influence extreme weather risks, such as exact geographic location data, full asset inventories and emissions scenarios.
As Kelly Hereid, director of catastrophe research and development at Liberty Mutual Insurance, said in a session on future-proofing physical infrastructure, “Climate hazards require high-resolution location data. The risks may change a lot over small spatial areas.”
Michael Kilpatrick, head of state government, municipal and co-op division at Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, agreed, posing questions such as: Will a company’s’ factories’ pumps work in a flood? Will the backup generators turn on during a storm? Will the evacuation system set up for a wildfire alert local employees and their families in time?
Infrastructure is “only as good as you maintain it,” he added.
Read the full article about climate resilience by Holly Secon at GreenBiz.
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