People around the globe are feeling the devastating impacts of extreme weather events, and the rising cost to lives and property make it all the more urgent for us to understand why these events occur and how we can best prepare for them. A new initiative at Columbia will focus on understanding the risks from such events and how they might be influenced by a changing climate, and on developing solutions to mitigate those risks.
The Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate brings together experts from different disciplines across the university to integrate research into the physical science of these events with research on their impacts on human society and engineering solutions. The center’s activities will aim to improve prediction, risk assessment and management, decision science, infrastructure design, and financial instruments for dealing with extreme weather.
The initiative kicks off this evening with a special Columbia University World Leaders Forum discussion, “Preparing for Extreme Weather: Global Lessons from Sandy,” from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Rotunda of Low Library. The event will be webcast live (registration to attend the event is closed). The panel discussion is co-sponsored by The Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research.
Adam H. Sobel, who will serve as director and chief scientist of the initiative, will moderate the panel. Sobel is a professor at Columbia and The Earth Institute, a researcher at Lamont-Doherty and the author of the recently released book, “Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future.”
Panelists will include:
- Michael Purdy, executive vice president for research, Columbia University
- Michael Gerrard, director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
- Lisa Goddard, director and senior research scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute
- Radley M. Horton, associate research scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, The Earth Institute
- Daniel Zarrilli, director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency
For more information on the new initiative, visit the project’s web page.