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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics

The impact of climate change on weather systems, extreme rainfall and flood episodes in the UK

Supervisors

Dr Cathryn Birch (School of Earth and Environment) - lead academic supervisor, Dr Mark Trigg (School of Civil Engineering), Dr Alan Gadian (School of Earth and Environment) and Dr Ralph Burton (School of Earth and Environment)

Theme(s)

Environmental Flows

Summary

This project will understand how extreme rainfall over the United Kingdom may change under future climate change and assess the impact on future flood episodes.

Extreme rainfall in the UK is expected to increase in the future and flooding is considered the most significant climate-related risk to the UK. Flooding is often the direct response to high-intensity and/or long-lived rainfall episodes. The Pennine hills of northern England are particularly prone to flood events due to the relatively wet climate and steep sided valleys, which channel water very rapidly into the valley bottom, causing river levels to rise sharply. Severe flood events occurred in summertime 2012 through convective rainfall (i.e. thunderstorms) and wintertime 2015 through rainfall associated with Storm Desmond and Frank, resulting in many homes being flooded and more than £5 billion of damage.

Understanding the weather systems associated with severe weather and predicting how they may change in the future remains a grand challenge in atmospheric science. In this project the student will utilise state-of-the-art models to assess how the severity and frequency of extreme weather events will change in the future and quantify changes in flood risk over the Pennine region.