Environment Seminar: The Use of Climate Model Ensembles for Targeting Adaptation Planning

When and Where

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 12:10 pm to 2:00 pm


Megan Lickley, Postdoctoral Associate in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT

Abstract: Setting mitigation targets and adapting to a changing climate requires impact estimates at resolutions relevant to policymakers (e.g. municipalities). Yet climate models often produce contradictory predictions for small areas. If climate models are all forced by the same emission scenario, they agree that global average rainfall and temperature will increase. However, as the spatial scale of averaging is reduced, differences across model projections begin to emerge. This talk will explore how ensembles of climate models can be used to inform adaptation and mitigation decisions. I will present work that explores common drivers of aridity change and identifies populations most at risk of severe change. I will explore the spatial inequities in the duration of rapid climate change under the Paris Agreement goal where greenhouse gas concentrations eventually stabilize. And I will revisit the treatment of climate model uncertainty and illustrate how to account for learning about climate change in adaptation planning.

Brief Bio: Megan is a postdoctoral Associate in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT where she received her Ph.D. (2020). She received her BSc in Math (2009) from Acadia University and my MSc in Technology and Policy (2012) from MIT. Uncertainty in climate change complicates decision-making and undermines optimal policy choices. Megan’s research examines the drivers, timing, and impacts of climate change to inform policy choices amid such uncertainty. To do so, she bridges mathematics, climate science, and policy analysis, integrating observational and population data with various climate and process models to predict the likelihoods of a range of outcomes. She applies these methods to core climate issues, including water resources, the duration of rapid warming, chlorofluorocarbon emissions and sources, and sea-level change. Together, this work identifies populations most at risk of severe climate change and evaluates policy options that mitigate these risks.

Location: ONLINE. To register for this event, please open the Eventbrite page.