My lightbulb moment
In September, 2016 I was invited as a CleanTech Open alumna to speak at the State Department Scholars’ Meeting, at Palo Alto Research Center, about the climate prediction work we started at Climformatics. There I met with Dr. Leslie Field of Ice911 who was speaking. During the course of the presentations, I realized that climate modeling and predictive analytics could be used to assess the impact of Ice911’s innovative ice-albedo enhancing technology. We began to collaborate, modeling their technology on a theoretical Arctic-wide deployment on sea ice. To our surprise and excitement, the results were not only very promising, they opened up real possibilities to slow down Arctic sea ice melt. Now we have renewed hope of restoring the climate. We just need to work relentlessly toward achieving that goal.
My interests in climate and earth science started in my childhood. I used to travel with my father across India, particularly in the Himalayas. I became fascinated by the different geographies, landscapes, vegetation, and climate of the places we visited. Since then, I have witnessed how rampant deforestation, rapid industrialization, growing urban population, and uncontrolled emissions from burning fossil fuels have turned once serene natural landscapes to urban heat islands. Human activities are accelerating climate change, melting polar ice, causing more frequent extreme weather events across this planet.
That inspired me to become a climate scientist. My academic journey began with studying physics, civil (stochastic structural dynamics) engineering, and proceeded to climate data analytics across Calcutta University, Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), and. I derived inspiration during my PhD working under the supervision of eminent Fluid Dynamicist Prof Roddam Narasimha at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research(JNCASR), analyzing Indian monsoon rainfall using wavelets and other signal processing tools. That gave me first insights into understanding global climate change. I knew I wanted to use climate models and data analytics to predict probable future climate change and its impact from a risk assessment perspective. For a brief stint, I worked in the insurance industry as a catastrophe risk modeler. At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), I modeled and simulated abrupt climate change.
Driven by the dire need to pro-actively mitigate climate change-driven risks, I co-founded Climformatics with a novel mission to predict climate and thereby help businesses and governments strive toward an environmentally sustainable future. Our team came from the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison at LLNL. In 2014, we won the CleanTech Open Western US Ag Water WasteCategory Finalist Award.
My vision for Climformatics includes:
- To build a robust climate prediction platform and tool able to predict future climate at any location for any future timescale, accurately identifying the nature, location and occurrence of extreme weather events. This can help stakeholders take proactive climate-driven risk mitigation measures, saving lives and property.
- To broaden the use of the platform in a plug and play mode across wider applications, such as assessments of climate change’s impact on health hazards, economics, crop pests, and disease.
- To support multiple climate restoration projects using customized modeling, simulation and impact assessment. Detailed climate modeling and impact assessment will be central to the vetting and ultimate success of climate restoration projects.
Organizations, projects, and companies I work with & support
- Ice911: We are consulting for Ice911, modeling, simulating and assessing impact of Ice911’s technology to save the Arctic Ice from melting.
Healthy Climate Alliance: We are part of the Polar Restoration Action Group, Center for Climate Restoration, which is led by the Healthy Climate Alliance.
IBM: Our business partner and provider of computing resources.
The Switch at iGate Hub in Livermore: Our mentor
CleanTech Open: Climformatics is an Alumnus, CTO is our Mentor
Lawrence Livermore National Lab: Mentor
Sabalcore: High performance computing resources in the Cloud for engineers, scientists and researchers
Climate change in Northern California
We have been able to study the impact of climate change in California at the zipcode level. Our “hindcast” predictions of minimum and maximum temperatures over the period 2011-2016 matched the observed drought conditions across many growing regions of the state.