Extreme weather and climate

Central to our research is the study of extreme weather and climate patterns for the pre-industrial era, recent historical era, and up to a hundred years into the future.

We do this through analysis of observational datasets, or through simulating different climate scenarios using climate models. In particular we specialise in large ensembles of climate simulations to understand the processes and characteristics of low-probability high-impact events. This allows us to attribute past changes to human induced climate change, or to understand the future changes given different greenhouse gas emission pathways. We have developed techniques to increase the spatial resolution of models, to make them relevant to the communities most vulnerable and most impacted.

While we have an interest in most types of extremes around the world; extreme temperatures and extreme rainfall are our priority areas. Around half of our work has a UK focus, with the other half being more global in nature. We look at trends in climate and its extremes over hundreds of years, and we look at specific extreme events. Some examples of events we have considered are the 2003 European Heatwave, the 2021 Pacific North West Heatwave, the 2022 London wildfires, the 2020 Super Cyclone Amphan in Bangledesh, the 2019 Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, and the 2023 Pakistan Floods.

Olive trees burn during a wildfire in Greece. Photo credit: Milos Bicanski / Climate Visuals Countdown.

High Tide with flood at St. Margarets, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, UK. Photo credit: Maxwell Hamilton.

Londoner escapes extreme heat in water and shade during heatwave in the UK. Photo credit: Christian Julliard.