This was part of Confronting Climate Change

Detection and Attribution for Spatial Extremes

Richard Smith, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Monday, March 1, 2021

Abstract: “Detection and Attribution” is a statistical technique used in climate science to determine the extent to which climate change is due to human causes, by comparing observed climate trends with climate model projections under both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic forcing scenarios. In recent years, there has been a huge literature, including an NRC report, on the application of these concepts to climate extremes. Nevertheless, it is my view that the methods are still far from their final form. In this talk, I will discuss methodologies for using the formal statistical methods of extreme value theory for this problem, and also discuss extensions to take into account the spatial nature of extreme events. The methods will be illustrated with reference to Hurricane Harvey, and also, if time permits, some recently started analyses assessing the hurricane risk to North Carolina.