Catastrophe risk modelling and climate change

Robert Muir-Wood and Joss Matthewman

Climate change is the response of the Earth’s climate system to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, which is accepted to be primarily driven by human activity. This response includes an overall increase in large-scale or macro-climatic variables such as global mean surface temperature and global mean sea level, but there is also a growing weight of scientific evidence demonstrating linkages to changes in the behaviour of rare and extreme weather events, such as North Atlantic hurricanes or windstorms in Europe. The base of scientific data generated by bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is immense, and the scope of research is expanding rapidly as new climate change insights are revealed and greater scientific consensus is attained.

Businesses find themselves on the climate change frontline and must now understand how a changing climate will affect their operations, assets and liabilities. This involves understanding the physical impacts of climate change as we move through the next 10, 30 or even 50 years. What will be the impact of rising temperatures across the global climate system, where are we heading in terms of potential

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