Understanding the Science of Climate Change

Understanding the Science of Climate Change

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The debate on climate change has rapidly evolved in recent years. It is no longer on whether the evidence of human impact on climate change is real, but on whether key mitigating strategies being adopted are sufficient. While actuaries are already developing models to quantify the impact of climate change on insurance businesses, it is becoming increasingly evident that the actuarial community’s understanding of climate risk is not yet as developed as its expertise on traditional insurance risks such as mortality risk. This talk is aimed at curious participants interested in learning about the science of climate change. No prior knowledge of climate change science or models is a pre-requisite for this online session.

To understand climate change, it is important to start with the basics i.e. build an understanding of greenhouse gas physics and the structure of Earth’s atmosphere. It is also important to understand how energy flows in the oceans and our atmosphere and how feedback loops can exacerbate the changes in temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, to develop an understanding of the human impact on climate it is important to look at temperature data from the various types of available temperature records including sea surface, land surface and satellite based records. An analysis of this data and additional data available on glacier lengths, solar radiation intensity can be put together to develop our understanding of the subject. Highlighting the potential impacts of the ‘business as usual’ CO2 emissions, looking at various other CO2 emissions scenarios allows us to make sense of the Paris Climate Accord and the following developments.
By doing all of this, this course will provide its participants with basic scientific tools and knowledge required to understand the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on Earth’s climate and develop models to mitigate the economic risks of climate change.

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