Determining if particular extreme hot or cold spells were caused by climate change could be made easier by a new mathematical method published in the journal Physical Review Letters and co-authored by Professor Valerio Lucarini, Professor of Statistical Mechanics and Director of the Centre for the Mathematics of Planet Earth.

The statistical method, developed by physicists at the University of Reading and Uppsala University in Sweden, looks at the characteristics, or ‘fingerprints’, of a specific extreme weather event of interest, like a heatwave, in order to ascertain whether it can be attributed to natural climate variability of the climate or is a unique product of global warming.

The method also allows predictions to be made about how likely extreme climate events will be in the future.

Read the full press release here.

Full reference
Galfi, V. M. and Lucarini, V.  (2021) Fingerprinting heatwaves and cold spells and assessing their response to climate change using large deviation theory. Physical Review Letters, 127 (5). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.127.058701