On Thursday 9th June Ambiental held a briefing at The British Library. The objective of the day was to discuss how advancements in scientific understanding, emerging technologies and recent flood events have set the scene for more accurate future flow predictions, improved analysis tools and superior flood data products. This event was held to present outcomes of recent collaborative projects funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
The event provided a forum for risk managers in the infrastructure, utilities and insurance industries to network with academic experts and benefit from insightful presentations relating to the predictive landscape of UK flood risk now and in the future.
Recent research shows that rainfall intensities are expected to increase. This is likely to have a significant impact upon the magnitude and frequency of flood events going forward. As such, the resilience of property, people, assets and infrastructure need to be re-examined so as to enable improved strategic planning and loss control. New data sources, technologies and methods were presented at the briefing. These are being tailored to help risk managers to better predict and manage future flooding so as to become more resilient going forward.
Justin Butler, CEO of Ambiental was the first speaker of the day. His presentation discussed the challenges of flood hazard predictions and the expected impacts on business and infrastructure under climate change. Justin highlighted the potential for significantly increased financial losses and the need to adapt to accommodate the impacts of climate change.
Professor Christel Prudhomme from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology presented next. Christel spoke about the Future Flows data models and explained the methods used for modelling future flow scenarios based on climate change predictions.
The following speaker was Dr. Dapeng Yu from Loughborough University. Dapeng’s presentation focussed on the current and future risks posed by flooding to key UK cities, from both surface water flooding and groundwater. Case studies from recent flooding in York and Carlisle where presented with modelling of current and future flow conditions. This demonstrated that the severity of flooding at given return periods will increase in the future.
Following on from Dr. Yu was and insightful presentation from Majdi Mansour of The British Geological Survey. Majdi spoke on the subject of groundwater modelling now and in the future. His studies aimed to understand how the Future Flows borehole data can be used to model climate change scenarios.
To begin the afternoon’s proceedings was a presentation from Dr. Jon Blower from The Institute for Environmental Analytics. Jon provided a live demonstration of the interactive flood monitoring tool. The tool was developed in collaboration with Ambiental and the project provides a useful way of visualising current flood conditions in comparison to flows predicted through climate change.
Dr. Sarah Johnson of Leicester University was next to take to the presenters’ podium. She explained how satellite technology can monitor flooding events. SAR based imagery can be used to determine the extent of flooding which provides a useful dataset for academics involved in flood research as well as holding value for emergency responders and insurance companies.
After Sarah, came Dr. Monica Rivas Casado from Cranfield University. Monica explained how drones (or UAV’s) can be used to capture data from flooding events. Details of a pilot study in Cockermouth in Cumbria were presented along with the various data outputs produced as a part of this pioneering research.
The final speaker of the day was Dr. Janet Dickinson of Bournemouth University. Janet discussed flood risk perception and communication. She explained how people’s perception of risk can sometimes not be consistent with the threat posed. The presentation demonstrated that there is a need for new ways of engaging with people to ensure that they are well informed and able to adequately prepare and respond to flooding.
After a concise summary from Justin Butler all the speakers engaged a panel session. This was structured as a Q&A session, where delegates were encouraged to consult with the experts regarding their presentations and to put forward their views on the how climate change is likely to affect how they operate in the future.
This concluded an interesting and insightful day. On behalf of the staff at Ambiental, and the keynote speakers, we would like to extend our thanks to all who attended the event. We would also like to thank NERC for their support. For anyone unable to join us, an audio podcast of the event will be made available shortly.
About the Author
Paul Drury is the GIS Data Manager at Ambiental. His role includes project management of production operations and reporting back to stakeholders. He also oversees the preparation, integration and quality assurance checking of data assets. Paul is an expert in GIS and data analysis with a developed understanding of the environmental data industry and underlying technical concepts. He has a BSc (hons) in Environmental Sciences from the University of Brighton.
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