Met Office scientist recognised as 'global thinker'

6 December 2013 - A senior Met Office scientist has been recognised with a prestigious award which recognises those who 'translate important ideas into action'.

Dr Peter Stott has been selected as one of Foreign Policy magazine's Global Thinkers of 2013 for his work on the report Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective.

He shares the recognition with his fellow editors on the publication - Thomas Peterson, Martin Hoerling, and Stephanie Herring, who are all based at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US.

Together they have played a leading role in pioneering climate attribution studies, which aim to assess how human-induced climate change has altered the chances of specific extreme weather events happening.

In the Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 report, climate scientists from around the world analysed 12 extreme events and found evidence for a 'human fingerprint' in half of them.

Dr Stott said: "Extreme or unusual weather and climate-related events can have major impacts across the world and there is a huge demand to understand how human influence is changing the risks we face.

"Attribution studies, while a developing area of science, will help us respond better to hazardous weather events in the future. Developing our understanding of how such damaging events have been affected by natural fluctuations of climate and by anthropogenic climate change helps to improve our ability to adapt to a changing climate, many of whose effects will be felt most keenly during extreme weather events.

"It's great that Foreign Policy has recognised the relevance of this scientific work, not just from me and my fellow editors on the 2012 Extremes report, but from all the teams of scientists around the world who have contributed."

Marty Hoerling, a co-editor on the 2012 Extreme report from NOAA, said the global thinkers listing recognises that climate science has an important role to play in ensuring discussion on the emotive issue of extreme weather is based on the best available information.

He said: "Much is said about extreme events in their immediate aftermath and sometimes that strays from what the science actually says. Our work to provide timely, accurate and clearly worded studies for such events means science can be vital part of the conversation when the public and decision makers most demand credible information."

Around 100 individuals are selected each year for the Global Thinkers list, which recognises the men and women whose ideas have done the most to influence world affairs in the preceding year, with those chosen coming from disciplines as diverse as science, business and politics.

Those on the 2013 list will honoured at an event held in Washington later this month, which will include a keynote talk from US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Last updated: 6 December 2013