National Weather Center Colloquium

Risk Assessment and Management of a Complex Climate System

Paul Higgins
Director, AMS Policy Program

10 September 2013, 4:00 PM

National Weather Center, Room 1313
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

Reception @ 3:30

Understanding the potential consequences of climate change to society is extremely challenging because climate impacts will depend on numerous contributing factors that are characterized by deep uncertainty and that interact in complicated ways. This deep uncertainty contributes to wildly divergent views on the potential seriousness of climate change among policy makers, members of the public, and even the expert community. Notably, experts with different disciplinary backgrounds routinely assess climate risks differently. For example, the economic literature suggests that the consequences of climate change over the next several decades are most likely low. In contrast, articles authored by physical and natural scientists often suggest considerably more potential for serious climate impacts. This seminar will present a new conceptual tool for climate change risk assessment and management that enables both experts and non-experts to explore the potential consequences of climate change given their own understanding and value judgments. The conceptual tool explores broadly the potential behaviors of three factors that could affect the relationship between climate change and societal well-being: (1) how climate changes (i.e., how much and how fast), (2) the sensitivity of key physical systems, biological resources, and social institutions to changes in climate, and (3) societal dependence on those physical systems, biological resources, and social institutions. The approach is designed to help users test, consider, and revise their assumptions and views through easy-to-implement and transparent thought experiments. It also helps clarify the potential roles of mitigation, adaptation, and geoengineering in climate change risk management. As a result, the conceptual tool can facilitate communication across disciplinary boundaries, help increase public understanding, and support risk management decision-making.

For accommodations based on disability, or more details, please call 325-6561. All visitors without NOAA or University of Oklahoma identification must register at the registration desk on arrival. Visitor parking is available for all University visitors. However, faculty/staff/students must have a current multi-purpose parking permit. Additional parking is available at the Lloyd Noble Center (LNC) for those individuals who do not have a parking permit. You do not need a permit to park in one of 1,200 spaces reserved for CART bus riders, although you must ride the CART shuttle to park in the reserved area. This area is on the north central side of the Lloyd Noble Center. Elsewhere at the LNC, permits are required.

The University of Oklahoma is a smoke-free / tobacco-free campus.

National Weather Center Colloquium Seminar Series website