City University London Wins Scientific Impact Award for Hurricane Research
Researchers at City University London’s giCentre have won an award recognizing the scientific impact of their tool, which visually analyses centuries of global storm activity and helps insurers assess the financial impact of atmospheric risk and the effect of climate change on it. The Making Hurricane Tracks Accessible research provides easy access to thousands of simulated storm tracks, generated over hundreds of years, enabling climate scientists to validate and interpret their climate data more easily and disseminate information to the insurance industry.
The research was conducted by Aidan Slingsby, Jason Dykes and Jo Wood at City, with colleagues at the University of Reading’s National Centre of Climate Science and the Willis Research Network (WRN). This collaboration between academia and the insurance industry, focuses on evaluating the frequency, severity and impact of major catastrophes.
The tool was honored with the Discovery Award at IEEE VisWeek 2010 – the world’s leading data visualization conference, at which the giCentre also received three other prizes for its work. Slingsby, Willis Research Fellow at City, said, “Data visualization enables researchers to look at information in new ways and uncover previously unnoticed trends. We’re delighted that our work, which aims to help scientists and insurers better understand today’s climate and the risks it poses, has been recognized in this way.”
Matthew Foote, WRN Research Director added, “The communication of complex hazard and risk information is an increasingly critical part of insurers’ decision-making process. Tools such as those being developed at City with our research partners are advancing the application of state-of-the-art technologies and the integration of world-leading science and risk management.”
The tool consists of a zoom-able world map, which allows users to vary the speed and time upon which storm tracks are displayed and study weather patterns at different scales from days to decades. Important characteristics of wind speed, storm rotation and mean sea surface pressure can be queried at any position along the track. At any time, track formation and evolution can be captured as a video clip animation.