Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Committed to Climate History: Actuaries Join Forces Analyzing Flood of Data

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Committed to Climate History: Actuaries Join Forces Analyzing Flood of Data

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Actuaries are working to quantify what Oklahomans experienced when years of drought suddenly collapsed into the wettest May in history.

The result of a massive data-crunching collaboration among four North American actuarial organizations is expected to have significance to just about any industry that struggles with weather patterns, ranging from agriculture to health care to insurance.

Risk analysts are interested in practical results regardless of what terms are used, said Mike Nowak at the Society of Actuaries, one of the participating groups. The politically loaded term climate change, for example, shouldn't really be a consideration as long as the information helps people understand severe weather patterns and protect the public.

"The ongoing work isn't focused at that buzzword," Nowak said. "It is looking at severe weather from the dry-wet and storms perspectives. I think we can expect to see a public presentation from data analysis at industry events soon, with a launch later this year."

The Actuaries Climate Index is a jointly funded research project by the Society of Actuaries, the American Academy of Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. The index is intended to be a measure of changes in extreme weather and sea level relative to the base period of 1961 to 1990. Much of the data is being provided by NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is based in Washington, D.C., with research offices in Norman.

Mark Shafer, director of the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program in Norman, said he's looking forward to conclusions from the index research because it might inform his own program's work. The Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program is funded by NOAA to take a multistate perspective of weather events and provide input for community planning. …

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