Climate change affects environmental hazards in many ways, including changing drought and precipitation patterns, creating new habitats for disease-transmitting vectors, and enhancing flooding and wildfire risks. Increasing temperatures cause ice sheets to melt, sea levels to rise, and energy demand to increase.
Climate risk can be managed using a variety of levers, including mitigation, adaptation, and solar radiation management. On global-to-regional scales, mitigation and solar radiation management may be options: governments can set policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions or fund research into solar radiation management, and energy markets can incentivize less-carbon intensive forms of energy generation. On more local scales, adaptation is the approach most commonly available. Homeowners facing flood risks have to decide if they’re going to elevate their homes (or if they’re going to move away). Municipalities have a variety of approaches to help reduce flood events and damages, including building hard infrastructure such as levees and changing zoning and building ordinances. Power utilities need to be cognizant of wildfire risk when operating the electric power grid.
All of these decisions must be made in the near term under deeply uncertain future climate, technological, and socioeconomic conditions. The infrastructure that we invest in today must perform adequately throughout a long lifespan. These decisions are also complicated by feedbacks between the human, natural, and built systems. Shocks that affect one part of society are likely to have cascading effects throughout other sectors. And the decisions that we make today have the potential to increase equity and fairness — or do the opposite, further entrenching systemic inequities.
Our group works to develop and analyze strategies for managing climate risk, as well as providing decision support for stakeholders faced with these risks. We work on a broad set of problems and collaborate widely with fellow researchers across disciplines. Our research combines systems engineering, climate science, statistics, economics, social science, ethics, and decision science. You can see some of our active research areas, our publications, and our funders. We are committed to open science and ensuring that our work is transparent and accessible.