Showing articles associated with Friederike Otto

Dr Friederike (Fredi) Otto is Acting Director of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute and an Associate Professor in the Global Climate Science Programme.

Her research focuses on extreme weather events, improving and developing methodologies to answer the question 'whether and to what extent external climate drivers alter the likelihood of extreme weather'. Furthermore, she explores the implication of policy within this emerging scientific field.

Dr Otto joined the ECI in 2011 to work on ensemble-based quantification of uncertainty in climate impact projections and continues to work on the quantification of uncertainty and validation of climate mode.

Dr Otto is co-investigator on the international project World Weather Attribution which aims to provide an assessment of the human-influence on extreme weather in real time and in the immediate aftermath of the event occurring.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in research related to environmental challenges?

What makes Oxford unique is the quality of people working here. This holds certainly for environmental research as well. In contrast to most other places it is not the case that there are a few stellar researchers leading the field in a specific discipline, but whether you look at environmental philosophy, finance, economics or physical climate research Oxford’s researchers are amongst the global leaders. An equally important and related aspect is the fact that scientists in Oxford understand that environmental challenges can only be overcome by truly interdisciplinary research.

What is the biggest environmental challenge facing the planet right now?

This is the wrong question in my view. Environmental challenges are not independent of each other and crucially, they are intertwined with societal, economic and political development, thus what has the largest impact depends very strongly on vulnerability and that is very unevenly distributed. This does not mean that there are no measures to deal with these challenges that should be prioritised but it is much more important to identify key intervention points in this interconnected system to make life (human and non-human) better for all, rather than playing challenges against each other.

Despite the challenges, are you optimistic about our future?  

Yes. On many fronts the world has become better in the last decades, certainly not everywhere, but for example with respect to maternal health, hunger, population growth the world has changed in the right direction. The same is true for women’s rights, LGBT+ etc. The fact that the Paris agreement exists is another reason for optimism as are the Friday’s for future movements across the world.

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