A protocol for probabilistic extreme event attribution analyses

Sjoukje Philip*, Sarah Kew, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Friederike Otto, Robert Vautard, Karin van der Wiel, Andrew King, Fraser Lott, Julie Arrighi, Roop Singh, M. van Aalst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last few years, methods have been developed to answer questions on the effect of global warming on recent extreme events. Many “event attribution” studies have now been performed, a sizeable fraction even within a few weeks of the event, to increase the usefulness of the results. In doing these analyses, it has become apparent that the attribution itself is only one step of an extended process that leads from the observation of an extreme event to a successfully communicated attribution statement. In this paper we detail the protocol that was developed by the World Weather Attribution group over the course of the last 4 years and about two dozen rapid and slow attribution studies covering warm, cold, wet, dry, and stormy extremes. It starts from the choice of which events to analyse and proceeds with the event definition, observational analysis, model evaluation, multi-model multi-method attribution, hazard synthesis, vulnerability and exposure analysis and ends with the communication procedures. This article documents this protocol. It is hoped that our protocol will be useful in designing future event attribution studies and as a starting point of a protocol for an operational attribution service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-203
Number of pages27
JournalAdvances in Statistical Climatology, Meteorology and Oceanography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020




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