2016 Severe Convection and Climate Workshop

APAM Professors Michael K. Tippett and Adam H. Sobel, along with John T. Allen (IRI) and Chiara Lepore (LDEO), organized the 2016 Severe Convection and Climate Workshop.

Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail and damaging winds have substantial societal and economic impacts, especially in the United States where they are frequent. From March 9-10, 2016, a group of over 110 participants from North America, Europe and China gathered at the 2016 Severe Convection and Climate Workshop in Davis Auditorium to discuss how climate influences the risk of severe thunderstorms, now and in the future.

Michael Tippett and the Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate organized the workshop with support from the Earth Institute, the National Science Foundation, Munich Re and Willis Re. The workshop brought together attendees from academia, government, and the private sector. Topics included the influence of El Nino and climate change on tornado frequency, estimation of hail swaths from satellite images, as well as prospects for seasonal prediction of severe weather activity.

In addition to the latest climate science, a unique feature of the workshop was an afternoon-long session devoted to the reinsurance industry. Severe convective storms are a leading natural hazard in terms of insured losses, especially recently. However, the so-called catastrophe models used to estimate potential losses from severe convective storm are less mature than those for other perils such as hurricanes.

Overall the workshop provided an excellent showcase of the current science on climate and severe thunderstorms in a context that was conducive to industry engagement and collaboration.

Keynote speakers included:

  • Harold Brooks, NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory
  • Greg Carbin, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center
  • Adam Clark, NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory
  • Kristin Kuhlman, NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory
  • Michael Kunz, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Kelly Hereid, Chubb Tempest Re.
  • Yvette Richardson, Penn State University
  • Eric Robinson, AIR Worldwide
  • Jeff Trapp, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign












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