Wildfires constitute a major natural hazard and pose huge risk to many regions of the world. The series of large fires across the Northern Hemisphere during 2018 led to inevitable questions about how human-induced climate change may be altering the character of such events. Providing answers to these questions is a crucial step to increasing resilience to major wildfires.
Long-term projections produced by state-of-the-art climate models, even when reliable, are not always a suitable means of communicating risk. To illustrate the impacts of climate change in the present day, so-called ‘event attribution’ seeks to quantify the fingerprint of human influence on real world episodes of extreme weather, such as floods, heatwaves and droughts. However, as the link with climate change is poorly understood, wildfires have been largely ignored by attribution studies to date.
Using advanced statistical methods, state-of-the-art climate models and the latest observational datasets, this project will build a seamless, globally-applicable framework for assessing past, present and future risk in wildfire activity. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work alongside the supervisory team and a number of international partners to advance the worldwide capacity for wildfire attribution.