Developing enhanced impact models for integration with next generation NWP and climate outputs

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: NERC National Ctr for Earth Observation

Abstract

Current best estimates indicate that approximately 5M people living in 2M properties are at risk of flooding resulting from extreme storms in the UK. Of these approximately 200,000 homes are not protected against a 1 in 75 year recurrence interval event, the Government's minimum recommended level of protection. When major floods do occur then total damage costs are high (£3.5Bn for the summer 2007 floods) and the total annual spending on flood defence approaches £800M. Protecting this population and minimizing these costs into the future requires the development of robust hydrologic and hydraulic models to translate the outputs from Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) and climate models into meaningful estimates of impact (with uncertainty). These predictions of impact can then be used to plan investment decisions, provide real-time warnings, design flood defence schemes and generally help better manage storm risks and mitigate the effects of dangerous climate change. Building on foundations developed by consortium members as part of the NERC Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) and EPSRC/NERC Flood Risk Management Research Consortium (FRMRC) Programmes, we here propose an integrated programme of research that will lead to step change improvements in our ability to quantify storm impacts over both the short and long term. Based on the knowledge gained in the above programmes, we suggest that improvements in storm impact modelling can be achieved through four linked objectives which we are uniquely positioned to deliver. Specifically, these are: 1. Downscaling, uncertainty propagation and evaluation of hydrologic modelling structures. 2. The development of data assimilation and remote sensing approaches to enhance predictions from storm impact models. 3. Better error propagation through coastal storm surge models. 4. The development of a new class of hydraulic model that can be used to convert predictions of rainfall-runoff or coastal extreme water levels to estimates of flood extent and depth at the resolution of LiDAR data (~1 - 2m horizontal resolution) over whole city regions using a true momentum-conserving approach. In this proposal we evaluate the potential of the above four approaches to reduce the uncertainty in ensemble predictions of storm impact given typical errors in the NWP and climate model outputs which are used as boundary forcing for impact modelling chains. Our initial characterization of the errors in predicted storm features (spatial rainfall and wind speed fields) in current implementations of NWP and climate models will be based on existing studies conducted by the UK Met Office and the University of Reading. As the project proceeds we will use the advances in storm modelling being developed for Deliverables 1 and 2 of this call to enhance our error characterizations and ensure that the techniques we develop are appropriate for current and future meteorological modelling technologies. We will rigorously evaluate the success of our proposed methods through the use of unique benchmark data sets of storm impact being developed at the Universities of Bristol and Reading.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Papers published address important issues for real-time flood forecasting:

a) Mason et al. (2012) develop a method for the automating processing of satellite-based Synthetic Aperture Radar to obtain Water Level Observations than can be assimilated into hydrodynamic models for flood forecast. This includes a top-down clustering approach for optimal subsampling of observations with spatially uncorrelated errors. Overall, the study is an important step toward the operational utilization of remote sensing-supported flood forecast.

b) Marin-Perez et al. (2012) focus on the technical description of a device specially designed to fulfill long-awaited requirements of in-situ hydrologic monitoring for remote areas. This is a low-power and long-range communication device, to support sensor networks, satisfying the requirements in terms of autonomy, sensor hardware compatibility, reliability and long-range communication, for monitoring big hydrologic catchments. Real-time data gathered from these networks can be assimilated along with remote-sensing information.

c) Garcia-Pinatado et al (2013, 2015) investigate data assimilation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images and their utility for real time flood forecasting. These papers provide initial evidence that this approach has potential value to operational inundation forecasting. However, further work is needed to create a robust system suitable for operations.
Exploitation Route The results of DEMON are being used in new research projects (NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme SINATRA project and a PhD studentship). Transfer to operational use requires further development of UK flood forecasting software and observing infrastructure. This is expected to be partly fulfilled during the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall programme and EPSRC DARE project.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport

 
Description Findings have been published and taken up by further research projects such as NERC SCENARIO DTP PhD studentship, NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme SINATRA project and the EPSRC DARE project.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Environment
 
Description EPSRC Senior Fellowship in Digital Technology for Living with Environmental Change
Amount £1,706,722 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P002331/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2021
 
Description NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall programme
Amount £2,636,166 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/K00896X/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2013 
End 05/2019
 
Description Walker Institute Travel Grant
Amount £700 (GBP)
Organisation University of Reading 
Department Walker Institute for Climate Research
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 02/2013
 
Description Walker Institute Travel Grant
Amount £700 (GBP)
Organisation University of Reading 
Department Walker Institute for Climate Research
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description Collaboration with CONVEX project 
Organisation Newcastle University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discussed futures of both CONVEX and DEMON projects, and how the two projects can help each other.
Start Year 2013
 
Description DEMON collaboration 
Organisation University of Bristol
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Gained nationwide high resolution tipping bucket raingauge data from Bristol University. This will allow better evaluation of model data.
Start Year 2013
 
Description NCAS Weather Research Forum 
Organisation National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution A forum discussing the modelling of precipitation.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Satellite Applications Catapult (CORSAIR) 
Organisation Satellite Applications Catapult
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We have been carrying out research on automatic flood delineation using synthetic aperture radar data provided by the Satellite Applications Catapult. Report to the catapult (March 2018)
Collaborator Contribution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images were provided under the CORSAIR programme.
Impact Mason, D. C., Dance, S. L., Vetra-Carvalho, S. and Cloke, H. L. (2018) Robust algorithm for detecting floodwater in urban areas using Synthetic Aperture Radar images. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing. doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.12.045011
Start Year 2016
 
Description WRF Users' Tutorial 
Organisation National Centre for Atmospheric Research
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Training course in Boulder, Colorado, to train users on how to use the Weather and Research Forecast Model.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Ongoing "Magnificent Maths" Days 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Building on the event funded by this grant, the University of Reading continues to hold an annual "Magnificent Maths" day or 2-day summer school for Year 12 school students, featuring workshops, talks and career panels.

Teachers comment that a Maths related school trip is a rare opportunity. Many of the same schools bring their students year after year, showing the value that they place on this activity for enthusing their students about choosing to continue Maths to A-level as well as further on at University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015
URL http://www.prospectus.rdg.ac.uk/archive/teachersandadvisors/advisors/taSTEMEvents.aspx