|Name:||Climate Change Risk Management of Munich Re – An Example of a Link between High End IT with Industry Applications|
|Time:||Tuesday, June 19, 2012
12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
CCH - Congress Center Hamburg
|Speakers:||Peter Höppe, Munich Re|
|Abstract:||As extreme weather events affect the core business of insurance this industry has quite early addressed potential effects of global warming on natural catastrophe hazards. Today climate change is regarded as one of the largest risks for insurance industry.
Munich Re's experts have been researching loss events caused by natural hazards around the globe for almost 40 years. These losses are documented in the NatCatSERVICE database currently document¬ing more than 30,000 single events. The analyses of the NatCatSERVICE data clearly show a dramatic increase in the number of natural catastrophes around the globe, with ever growing losses. The trend curve indicating the number of loss relevant natural catastrophes worldwide reveals an increase by a factor of about three within the last 30 years.
As the rise in the number of natural catastrophes is largely attributable to weather-related events like windstorms and floods, with no similarly strong increase in geophysical events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, there is some justification in assuming that anthropogenic changes in the atmosphere, and climate change in particular, play a decisive role as well. There has been more and more evidence to support this hypothesis in recent years. The fourth status report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007) regards the link between global warming and the greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events as significant.
In order to be able to assess the future development of extreme weather events the results of climate model runs have to be analysed. Climate modelling belongs to most complex calculation processes and needs the largest and fastest computers available. Climate models need to cover the whole globe with a high spatial resolution (high number of gridpoints on the ground covering two dimensions). In addition as weather is a three dimensional process in the atmosphere and also influenced by sea surface temperatures, models need to consider several vertical layers both in the atmosphere but also in the oceans. On each of the grid points complex meteorological equations have to be applied in certain time steps, which brings in the the fourth dimension.
The better the spatial and temporal resolution (e.g. for regional climate modeling) shall be the higher are the multipliers of grid points and time steps leading to an enormous demand of calculating capacity. This is why some of the largest and fastest computers are running at weather services and climate modeling institutes like the Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum (DKRZ) in Hamburg. Since some years ensemble model calculations have become state of the art, which allow assessments of uncertainties but again multiply calculation times. The development of new and more sophisticated climate models always is a run against the development of faster super computers. Computers have to allow the model calculations to be completed faster than the real world develops. This is especially a problem for day to day weather forecasts.
The insurance industry among many other stakeholders benefits from the ever improving climate models, which today are unthinkable without the latest generations of super computers. Besides this for our industry, which is based on figures and calculations, applications of mainstream IT are the bread and butter of our business.