“Jupiter Intelligence models potential risks from natural perils such as hurricanes, sea level rise and extreme heat and cold,” says Rich Sorkin, CEO and Co-founder of Jupiter Intelligence.

Sorkin and his team of experts from broad fields, such as climate science, computing technology, data science and academia use these models to better understand risks from climate change – in order to create a more resilient economy and planet.

Being of great value for AIWW, we asked Rich Sorkin to give his view on the AIWW Conference 2019 themes and topics. This year’s main theme is the ‘Implementation of integrated solutions by cities, industries, utilities and financiers: from cases to bankable projects.’

Q: In terms of what you are doing at Jupiter, how would you sum up the need(s) that you are responding to, and the opportunities that you see ahead for you?

“Jupiter Intelligence predicts probable risk to people, property, and the environment from climate-change-driven events at extremely fine, parcel-level and “asset-level” resolutions, for periods spanning one hour to fifty years into the future. We model potential risks from perils such as hurricanes, sea level rise, storm surge, persistent rainfall, extreme heat and cold, high winds, wildfires, drought, and hail. Our customers are decision-makers in the private and public sectors who urgently seek to improve short-, medium-, and long-term resilience strategies in the face of climate change.”

“Our team includes global experts in climate science, computing technology, data science, and business growth with extensive experience in the private sector, government, and academia. Our diverse perspectives unite us in a common purpose: to better understand risks from climate change and create a more resilient economy and planet.”

Q: Please comment on the power of the digital/computing tools and capacity that are available today, compared to five or ten years ago, and how this transforms our ability to anticipate and respond to climate change.

“Advances in cloud computing—such as elastic computing—and the advent of exascale computing, which promises to offer a thousand-fold increase in power over 2008’s fastest supercomputers, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning, transform our ability to model climate change impacts based upon forward-looking data and the principle of non-stationarity, which means, broadly speaking, that what used to be normal isn’t normal anymore. The climate and climate change are non-stationary.”

“Risk models traditionally have been based on historical data and stationarity, the assumption that the future will look just like the past. However, this traditional approach is inadequate at a time of rapid climate change. Among other benefits, the scalability, performance, and analytical agility offered by today’s digital and computing tools enable: (1) the building of very large data sets (with data ingested from millions of ground-, ocean-, and satellite-based sensors), and (2) the combination of dynamic Earth system models with computationally intensive dynamic downscaling techniques. These advancements allow non-stationary analysis, and the ability to hyper-localize weather hazards down to building-level data, for multiple geographies and perils.”

Q: Thinking of the adaptation needs of cities, what do you see as their wider challenges, especially institutional and organisational challenges. How do you see this impacting how they approach the use of new tools?

“Municipalities face both immediate and longer-term challenges in confronting climate change. Clearly, preparedness for emergency response and service continuity, and optimized public health and public safety measures, are critical concerns before, during, and after extreme weather events. Longer-term, cities must also improve the resilience of critical infrastructure, from flood mitigation and drainage systems to water supply and sewage treatment systems to roads and bridges and railway access, and consider changes to policies and zoning regulations that reflect the realities of climate change. Dynamic, forward-looking risk assessments will be a critical tool for all these activities.”

Q: Please comment on what you see as the value in participating in AIWW, connecting in particular with city leaders. What do you hope they will be able to get from exposure to the potential of new tools?

“We often refer to a “weather enterprise” composed of three critical players: academia, government/public sector, and private industry. These sectors historically have collaborated closely to improve the ability to forecast weather events, save lives and property, and mitigate as much as possible economic, ecological, and societal disruptions caused by these events. But the unfolding and dynamic challenges of climate change, which can demand long-range planning and infrastructure investment, demand an even closer collaboration among these spheres. Events like AIWW can only help strengthen this critical collaboration so that the contributions of both private companies and academic institutions can be applied at the national, regional, and local levels—thus making cities, their people, their infrastructure, and their economies more resilient.”

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