Drying lake effect of extreme weather


Ahead of COP26, Dr Friederike Otto explains the influence of climate change on extreme weather events

Published: 22 September 2021



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Working at the forefront of cutting-edge climate science, Oxford expert Dr Friederike Otto has seen rapid advancements in her team’s ability to determine the extent of climate change and its impact. She says, ‘In the last five years, we have developed the tools and understanding of how climate change affects us.’

Not only can they now say how likely extreme events are to take place, Dr Otto and her team, can determine to what extent this has been affected by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Dr Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute, uses mass computer modelling to calculate the likelihood of extreme events and of climate change in different regions.

She says with assurance, ‘We know how much greenhouse gas is in the atmosphere...Climate change is a real game changer when it comes to heat waves, making them 100 times more likely in some places.’

COP26 ASK: I hope this evidence is used to really up the game on adaptation and adaptation finance.

Dr Friederike (Fredi) Otto is Acting Director of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute and an Associate Professor in the Global Climate Science Programme. She is the co-lead of World Weather Attribution (WWA), an international effort to analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events.

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For more on Oxford's climate research, see