Adam Sobel

My Commitment: Assessing and reducing the risks of extreme weather events

I have spent most of my career trying to understand the basic physics of climate and weather. But the experience of Hurricane Sandy in New York brought home, literally, the importance of using science to assess and reduce the risks to human society from extreme weather events.

The most destructive events are very rare—New York City hadn’t seen a storm like Sandy in 200 years—and climate variability and change make the present and future different from the past. So, the hazards they pose can’t easily be measured just by looking at historical data. We need predictive science to do it.

We need to better understand events like hurricanes, floods, and droughts, their relation to climate, and their impacts on human society, both past and future. Our science can improve prediction and risk assessment to help the world adapt to climate change.