Karena Yan ’23

Major

Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Project Title

Humid Heat Halves Summertime Labor Productivity for Between 10 and 40% of the Global Population by 2100

Presentation Link

View Karena's Presentation

Certificate(s): Environmental Studies

I studied the effect of climate change on labor productivity. As the climate becomes hotter and more humid, workers will need to take longer breaks when performing manual labor to minimize the risk of heat stress. I analyzed output from two Earth system models to estimate when vulnerable regions may begin experiencing significant labor-capacity reductions due to extreme heat. Additionally, I looked at how natural climate variability and differences in model design contribute to uncertainty in predictions. My analysis showed that in the absence of resilience strategies, labor productivity may be reduced by half for as much as 40% of the global population by the end of the century. During my internship, I gained experience working with large data sets and was able to learn more about how high-resolution climate models operate. I found the socioeconomic implications of my project particularly interesting because developing nations are disproportionately threatened by extreme heat, yet frequently lack sufficient cooling access. Overall, my internship motivated me to learn more about global environmental inequality and further explore the applications of data science in studying climate change.



Internship Year

2020

Project Category

Climate and Environmental Science

Organization(s)

Sarmiento Group, Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University

Mentor(s)

Jorge Sarmiento, George J. Magee Professor of Geoscience and Geological Engineering, Emeritus, Professor of Geosciences, Emeritus; Graeme MacGilchrist, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; Sarah Schlunegger, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences