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In the aftermath of extreme weather events, the question ‘Is climate change to blame?’ is becoming increasingly common. As heatwaves, wildfires, heavy rainfall and droughts become more intense and occur more frequently, public demand for information on the role of climate change is growing.

The World Weather attribution project uses combinations of climate modelling and observational analyses to estimate how human influence has changed the likelihood and severity of recent extreme events. Many analyses are carried out just days or a few weeks after an extreme weather event has occurred to deliver timely scientific evidence to the public. Founded in 2015, the group has carried out more than 60 attribution studies on a range of weather extremes around the world, including an analysis on the 2022 heatwave that saw temperatures break 40°C for the first time in the UK since records began.

In this talk hosted by the Centre for Integrated Research on Risk and Resilience (CIRRR), Dr Friederike (Fredi) Otto, the co-founder of World Weather Attribution, will discuss the group’s work using recent studies as case studies, as well as the challenges and opportunities of operationalising event attribution studies. Dr Otto will also discuss advances in the assessment of vulnerability, how an attribution framework could steer the field towards more prescribed methods that allow for better comparison between studies, and how a clearer communication of factors other than climate could improve public response to extreme weather events.

About the speaker

Dr Friederike (Fredi) Otto

Dr Friederike (Fredi) Otto

Fredi is a physicist by training and joined Imperial College London as a Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute in 2021. She is co-founder and lead of World Weather Attribution (WWA), an international effort to analyse and communicate the influence of climate change on extreme weather events. In 2021, Fredi was recognised in the TIME100 list as one of the world’s most influential individuals, and as one of the top 10 people who made a difference in science in 2021 by the journal Nature. In 2023, she received the prestigious German Environmental Prize.

About the CIRRR

The Centre for Integrated Research on Risk and Resilience (CIRRR) brings together researchers from across disciplines to explore transformational responses to climate risk reduction.

Drawing on resilience to understand the related social, political and economic underpinnings of the climate threats, CIRRR aims to improve entry points for policymakers and practitioners to engage in transformational adaptation pathways and local priorities to drive decision-making.

Event details

Nash Lecture Theatre K2.31
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS