An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Fraser Lott

Areas of expertise

  • Event attribution in African regions
  • Detection and attribution of free atmosphere temperatures

Publications by Fraser Lott

Current activities

Fraser works on Detection and Attribution of climate change, using statistical techniques to compare weather and climate observations to that seen in computer models. By using models with a range of forcings, both man-made and natural, we can estimate how much of the change we see in the real world is due to which forcing.

Fraser has recently been applying these techniques to the regional climates of Africa on behalf of the Department for International Development (DFID). By examining the overlap between "actual world" and "natural world" probability distributions for events such as droughts, the change in the probability of that event due to human activity can be determined. This was applied to the Greater Horn of Africa drought of 2011, which was found to have been more likely to have happened due to human influence.

To gain a greater understanding of the level of uncertainty of both attribution and seasonal forecasting, Fraser has been examining model reliability over Africa for DFID. This work continues forEUCLEIA in order to develop techniques for attribution evaluation.

Career background

Fraser studied for a Physics MSci and a Plasma Physics PhD from Imperial College London. The latter involved experiments using infrared measurements of temperatures and power fluxes from the MAST fusion experiment at Culham Science Centre, and he went on to do similar work on ITER mock-ups for CEA Cadarache in 2007-8.

He joined the Met Office in 2009 to work on the HadIR project, an effort to collate 30 years of infrared satellite data into a climate data set. Fraser worked on the implementation and comparison of cloud detection algorithms to develop this project and evaluate its potential. He continues to oversee the Climetop archive of satellite data.

Fraser moved into the field of Detection and Attribution at the beginning of 2010, examining human and natural influences on the temperatures measured by radiosondes (weather balloons). The results of this study contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5).

External recognition

  • Best Poster Prize for a young researcher at the Plasma Surface Interactions conference, Toledo 2008.
  • Contributing author, IPCC AR5 Working Group 1, Chapter 10 (2013).
  • DFID work mentioned in Chris Huhne'sComment Is Free article in the Guardian (29th December 2013).