Canadian Underwriter

XL Catlin sponsors deep ocean survey to better understand climate change impacts

July 6, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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XL Catlin will sponsor a new scientific survey to research the deep ocean, information from which will hopefully shed light on the potential impact of climate change and the risks that businesses, society and ecosystems will face in future.

The XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey – delivered by Nekton Mission in partnership with XL Catlin and an alliance of ocean scientists, media organizations, business leaders, philanthropists, educationalists and civil leaders – will research Earth’s least explored and critically important ecosystem, the deep ocean.

The survey “will create a new standardized methodology to be used by marine biologists for measuring physical, chemical and biological indicators for the purpose of assessing the function, health and resilience of the deep ocean,” notes an XL Catlin statement issued Tuesday.

Nekton Mission, based in the United Kingdom, is one of the very few independent non-governmental organizations dedicated to deep ocean research. It will be deploying pioneering marine technologies – including two deep-diving, unmanned submersibles adapted with the latest filming and scientific equipment, and remotely operated vehicles – as part of the survey.

Related: Science can estimate the influence of climate change on some types of extreme events, new report says

XL Catlin’s sponsorship seeks to help aid scientific exploration of the deep ocean, and broaden the company’s commitment to understanding ocean risk.

“This partnership is confirmation of our commitment to actively learn more about the risks we could face in future,” says Paul Jardine, chief experience officer of XL Catlin. “We believe that collecting and sharing reliable and impartial data can play an important part in this,” Jardine points out.

“As an re/insurance company, there is an immediate need to accelerate our knowledge of how the oceans are changing,” he emphasizes. “We need to understand the risks that businesses, society and ecosystems will face in future.”

Related: Insurers must be included in “policy architecture of sustainable development”: former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change

Representing the third ocean-focused program supported by the company, the first two were the Catlin Arctic Survey and the XL Catlin Seaview Survey.

The latter, done in 2009 to 2011, examined how climate change and other factors were affecting the fragile Arctic environment, including the thinning of the floating sea ice and the time scale for a projected ice-free summer season in the Arctic.

“These create risks and opportunities with global implications including changing weather patterns, faster melting of the Greenland ice sheet, alterations to fish migration and the opening of Artic shipping routes,” XL Catlin reports.

Related: Arctic sea ice reaches lowest seasonal minimum on record

With regard to the latest survey, “the oceans play a vital role in regulating our climate and controlling weather patterns. They underpin the health of our planet and yet we have little scientific data about the ocean as a driver of change,” says Mike Maran, XL Catlin’s chief science officer. “To manage risk effectively, we must fully understand it,” Maran notes.

“The technology available today now makes it possible for us to discover so much more,” comments Oliver Steeds, Nekton Mission’s director. “We’re hoping to help accelerate our understanding of how the ocean is changing and its implications for humanity,” Steeds says.