Forecasting Rainfall exploiting new data Assimilation techniques and Novel observations of Convection (FRANC)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Meteorology

Abstract

Brief periods of intense rainfall can lead to flash flooding with the potential to cause millions of pounds of damage to property, and to threaten lives. Accurate flood warnings even just a few hours ahead can allow preparations to be made to minimize damage. In order to improve the prediction of these events, more accurate forecasts of heavy rainfall are needed, which can then be used to inform flood prediction and warning systems. The UK Met Office is developing a new numerical weather prediction system with the goal of improving severe weather forecasts. This is a computer model that solves mathematical equations representing atmospheric motions and other physical processes such as cloud formation, with a horizontal grid spacing of 1.5km. This allows a more accurate representation of fine-scale features and explicit representation of storms, but the results are still dependent on the accuracy of the starting conditions or initial data describing the current state of atmospheric variables such as winds, pressure, temperature and humidity. Initial conditions are usually estimated using a sophisticated mathematical technique known as data assimilation that blends observations with model information, taking account of the uncertainties in the data. In this project, we propose fundamental research to reduce initial condition errors. The work will be carried out in a partnership between the Universities of Reading, Surrey and the Met Office.

We plan to investigate ways of extracting the maximum information from weather radar observations of precipitation and moisture in the lower parts of the atmosphere. Although rainfall is usually well observed by weather radar, severe precipitation can cause the radar beam to lose energy, and thus the weaker returned signal may be misinterpreted, giving a lower rain-rate than in reality. We will develop algorithms to correct for this and other problems caused by severe rainfall. Recently, we have also developed techniques to infer humidity information about the lower atmosphere, and we plan to optimize the method and investigate the observation error characteristics, to prepare for this data to be assimilated by the Met Office.

One of our goals is to use observations to provide information on the small scales without degrading the large scale weather patterns, which are themselves likely to be accurate. However, currently much of the small scale observational information is being lost by ignoring correlations between observation errors. We will develop a generic approach for treating observation correlations for a range of observation types. We will investigate mathematical methods that both capture the maximum amount of information contained in the observations, while still being practical for operational computations, which have to take place within a limited time frame.

Another goal is to develop innovative ways of treating moist processes that are largely absent from present-day assimilation systems. We plan to design and test efficient and effective ways of assimilating moisture information that respect the intricate dynamical and physical relationships that operate in the atmosphere. If successful, such new approaches will allow better use of cloud and rain affected observations than at present.

Predicting convective rain is made harder by the fact that some events are inherently unpredictable, even with good data assimilation and models, due to their high sensitivity to even small errors in the initial conditions. Further studies will be made to look at the dynamical reasons for the low predictability of such events using diagnostics derived from models and observations.

Planned Impact

The primary impact of this project will be on the ability of the Met Office to forecast high impact rainfall, and on downstream systems and users of those forecasts.

Proposed work on improving the quality and accuracy of radar reflectivity measurements and derived rainfall estimates will have impact in a number of ways. Firstly, there will be an immediate impact via the Met Office STEPS/UKPP numerical weather prediction (NWP) post-processing system. This objectively merges extrapolation forecasts with output from numerical weather prediction (currently the 1.5 km grid-spacing model, updated every 3 h, at best) to produce an 'optimal' forecast every hour. The output is used to drive hydrological models by the Environment Agency; in particular, it is used to drive the G2G model operated within the Joint Met Office/ Environment Agency Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC), which gives a national view of short-term flood risk, including un-gauged catchments. It is also used as guidance for the Extreme Rainfall Alerts, along with the UK convective-scale ensemble system, UK-MOGREPS. Improved radar-derived rainfall will also have a direct impact on the quality of the NWP forecast, as rainfall is assimilated and, incidentally, enable a more useful verification of any rainfall forecasts to be performed.

Longer term improvements will come primarily through the implementation of a nowcasting configuration of the NWP system. This could become a replacement input into STEPS/UKPP and so naturally feed through to the same users. The Met Office have a key deliverable of their Public Weather Service R&D plan to have an 'Operational implementation of next-generation NWP-nowcasting system' by March 2017. This would potentially include implementation of direct assimilation of radar reflectivity by 4DVAR rather than rainfall via latent heat nudging. This brings advantages of consistency and coupling to model dynamics, but will benefit enormously from the more accurate data, the better characterization of their errors and the more efficient use of data via improved representation of error covariance structure provided by this project. The latter will also have impact through better use of the information in the radar Doppler wind data and satellite observations already assimilated.

The NWP-based nowcasting system would also be the route through which the other main outputs of the project deliver impact, though they would also have impact in the existing NWP system if the nowcasting system were delayed. Use of radar refractivity provides a major source of low-level humidity information, vital for good forecasts of high-impact rainfall. This information is currently very sparse, mainly coming from surface synoptic stations but increasingly from aircraft as the land and take off from major airports. While we cannot predict the amount of forecast improvement, we know that deficiencies in low level moisture are a major contributor to forecast error.

A better (and more adaptive) choice of moisture-variable(s) in the Data Assimilation system will have impact on the assimilation system, especially assimilation of refractivity and reflectivity (for which it may prove essential); this is a current goal in the Met Office's rolling plan for improvements.

Many of these impacts will also have benefit for other forecast systems; techniques to model observation error covariance will be applicable in other systems and to other observation types. Application of refractivity will also be applicable in other radar systems.

Of course, the ultimate aim of this project is impact on the public (and thus the insurance industry) through improved flood warnings, especially of pluvial and fluvial flooding of small, fast-response catchments. This will bring benefits through reduced loss of life and damage to property.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Our research focusses on flooding associated with intense, localised
rainfall events. These are typically thunderstorms that happen over just a
few tens of square kilometres lasting 1 to 3 hours, making them difficult
to predict. We have considered the prediction of surface water and flash
floods from observations of the atmosphere; through weather and flood
forecasts to the impacts on the ground. Our findings will improve forecasts
and risk management associated with these type of events.

More detailed written findings are available on the web, along with a film.
http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/flooding
Exploitation Route Our findings will be very useful for the operational numerical weather prediction community. We are working in partnership with the Met Office to ensure their transfer to operational practice.
Sectors Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/flooding/files/2013/11/Flooding-From-Intense-Rainfall-Summaries.pdf
 
Description Brief periods of intense rainfall can lead to flash flooding with the potential to cause millions of pounds of damage to property, and to threaten lives. In order to improve the prediction of these events, more accurate forecasts of heavy rainfall are needed, and these can then be used to inform flood prediction and warning systems. The UK Met Office is developing a new numerical weather prediction system with the goal of improving severe weather forecasts. This will enable a more accurate representation of fine-scale features and explicit representation of storms. However, the results are still dependent on the accuracy of the initial data describing the current state of atmospheric variables such as winds, pressure, temperature and humidity. We report on advances in the estimating rainfall rates from weather radar. Rainfall totals inferred from radar during flooding events are often less than half the values recorded by raingauges, as was the case in the London floods of 20 July 2007. This is because the radar return is attenuated by both the falling rainfall and by a film of water on the radome protecting the radar. We have developed a new method of correcting this attenuation, based on the principle that all attenuators are emitters, so the total attenuation on any radar azimuth can be detected by the increase in background noise. Software for measuring emission has been rolled out across the UK Met Office weather radar network and is being used operationally. Developments in the treatment of observation uncertainty have led to a new software tool and changes in professional practice at the UK Met Office. Further developments are expected to be in operational use in the near future,
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description DWD change to radar quality control
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Our research related to the operational and near operational German public weather forecasting service. Our results highlighted some problems with observation quality control, that have subsequently been rectified, and improved the German weather forecast,
 
Description Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Parliamentary Select Committee consultation on Future Flood Prevention.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvfru/115/11502.htm
 
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 Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2021
 
Description ESA Advanced Data Assimilation Workshop
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2014 
End 04/2014
 
Description NERC International Opportunity Fund
Amount £31,771 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/N006682/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2015 
End 10/2016
 
Description 13th EMS Annual Meeting & 11th European Conference on Applications of Meteorology (ECAM), September 2013 
Organisation European Meteorological Society (EMS)
Country Germany 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Sue Gray was on the Programme and Science committee for the meeting and Sarah Dance acted as a co-convenor for the conference session on Data Assimilation.
Collaborator Contribution Conference organization
Impact EMS conference proceedings: Volume 11 of Advances in Science and Research (Open Access) http://www.adv-sci-res.net/topical_library.html
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaboration with DWD 
Organisation German Weather Service
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution WE have visited DWD and hosted a visitor from DWD, exchanged data and software with the DWD and are preparing a jointly authored journal article.
Collaborator Contribution DWD hosted our visit and sent a visitor to us, exchanged data and software and are preparing a jointly authored journal article.
Impact Initial outcomes are a seminar given to DWD. Multidisciplinary: Mathematics and Meteorology.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with LMU, Munich 
Organisation Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU Munich)
Department Faculty of Physics
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution David Flack has visited LMU,Munich to discuss research with George Craig and his group.
Collaborator Contribution George Craig has visited Reading to discuss research with the project team.
Impact Flack, D.L.A. et al (2016) Characterisation of Convective Regimes over the British Isles, Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc., doi: 10.1002/qj.2758
Start Year 2013
 
Description Collaboration with NRL 
Organisation United States Naval Research Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Nancy Nichols visits NRL, Monterey annually to discuss current research. She has also contributed to writing a joint publication.
Collaborator Contribution Research discussions and joint publication writing.
Impact Outputs: journal article (Hodyss and Nichols, 2015) Multi-disciplinary: Mathematics and Meteorology
Start Year 2006
 
Description NCEO funding 
Organisation National Centre for Earth Observation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our research contributes to the goals of the NCEO Data Assimilation theme. We have presented material to NCEO conferences and talked to other NCEO scientists in different application areas about our work.
Collaborator Contribution NCEO provided 7 months salary to extend the time available for Waller's research on this topic. NCEO Co-Is Lawless and Nichols provided staff time and expertise.
Impact Waller, J. A., Dance, S. L., Lawless, A. S. and Nichols, N. K. (2014) Estimating correlated observation error statistics using an ensemble transform Kalman filter. Tellus A, 66, 23294, doi: 10.3402/tellusa.v66.23294
Start Year 2013
 
Description Partnership with the Met Office 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are working together with the Met Office on an integrated programme of research.
Collaborator Contribution The Met Office is contributing staff time and expertise, model and data assimilation software, observational data, supercomputing time and support.
Impact The project has resulted in - improvements in the Met Office operational UK weather radar network - changes to the Met Office operational numerical weather prediction software - a number of joint journal publications (listed below) M. Cordoba, S.L. Dance , G.A. Kelly, N.K. Nichols and J.A. Waller (2016) Diagnosing Atmospheric Motion Vector observation errors for an operational high resolution data assimilation system Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society (Accepted) Waller, J. A., Ballard, S. P., Dance, S. L., Kelly, G., Nichols, N. K. and Simonin, D. (2016) Diagnosing horizontal and inter-channel observation error correlations for SEVIRI observations using observation-minus-background and observation-minus-analysis statistics. Remote Sensing, 8 (7). 581. ISSN 2072-4292 doi: 10.3390/rs8070581 Mirza, A. K., Ballard, S. P., Dance, S. L., Maisey, P., Rooney, G. G. and Stone, E. K. (2016) Comparison of aircraft derived observations with in situ research aircraft measurements. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. ISSN 1477-870X doi: 10.1002/qj.2864 (In Press) Waller, J. A., Simonin, D., Dance, S. L., Nichols, N. K. and Ballard, S. P. (2016) Diagnosing observation error correlations for Doppler radar radial winds in the Met Office UKV model using observation-minus-background and observation-minus-analysis statistics. Monthly Weather Review. ISSN 0027-0644 doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0340.1 Flack, D. L. A., Plant, R. S., Gray, S. L., Lean, H. W., Keil, C. and Craig, G. C. (2016), Characterisation of convective regimes over the British Isles. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc., 142: 1541-1553. doi: 10.1002/qj.2758
Start Year 2013
 
Description SINATRA collaboration 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution SINATRA is the other project funded under the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. To date we have held several joint workshops with both of the project teams, and contributed staff time to the joint FLoAT (Flood Action Team). We have also carried out collaborative research funded as pilot projects using programme coordination team funds. We also have a joint website and have written a joint proposal for future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback on eachother's work contributing to greater understanding of the flood forecasting chain and impacts of flooding. Writing proposal for the next phase of Flooding from Intense Rainfall.
Impact Outcomes: Joint workshop, Joint website, Joint Flood Action Team, Joint proposal for funding Disciplines: Meteorology, Hydrology, Mathematics, Data Assimilation, Earth Observation
Start Year 2013
 
Description SINATRA collaboration 
Organisation King's College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SINATRA is the other project funded under the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. To date we have held several joint workshops with both of the project teams, and contributed staff time to the joint FLoAT (Flood Action Team). We have also carried out collaborative research funded as pilot projects using programme coordination team funds. We also have a joint website and have written a joint proposal for future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback on eachother's work contributing to greater understanding of the flood forecasting chain and impacts of flooding. Writing proposal for the next phase of Flooding from Intense Rainfall.
Impact Outcomes: Joint workshop, Joint website, Joint Flood Action Team, Joint proposal for funding Disciplines: Meteorology, Hydrology, Mathematics, Data Assimilation, Earth Observation
Start Year 2013
 
Description SINATRA collaboration 
Organisation Newcastle University
Department School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SINATRA is the other project funded under the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. To date we have held several joint workshops with both of the project teams, and contributed staff time to the joint FLoAT (Flood Action Team). We have also carried out collaborative research funded as pilot projects using programme coordination team funds. We also have a joint website and have written a joint proposal for future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback on eachother's work contributing to greater understanding of the flood forecasting chain and impacts of flooding. Writing proposal for the next phase of Flooding from Intense Rainfall.
Impact Outcomes: Joint workshop, Joint website, Joint Flood Action Team, Joint proposal for funding Disciplines: Meteorology, Hydrology, Mathematics, Data Assimilation, Earth Observation
Start Year 2013
 
Description SINATRA collaboration 
Organisation University of Bristol
Department School of Geographical Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SINATRA is the other project funded under the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. To date we have held several joint workshops with both of the project teams, and contributed staff time to the joint FLoAT (Flood Action Team). We have also carried out collaborative research funded as pilot projects using programme coordination team funds. We also have a joint website and have written a joint proposal for future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback on eachother's work contributing to greater understanding of the flood forecasting chain and impacts of flooding. Writing proposal for the next phase of Flooding from Intense Rainfall.
Impact Outcomes: Joint workshop, Joint website, Joint Flood Action Team, Joint proposal for funding Disciplines: Meteorology, Hydrology, Mathematics, Data Assimilation, Earth Observation
Start Year 2013
 
Description SINATRA collaboration 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department College of Engineering, Mathematics & Physical Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SINATRA is the other project funded under the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. To date we have held several joint workshops with both of the project teams, and contributed staff time to the joint FLoAT (Flood Action Team). We have also carried out collaborative research funded as pilot projects using programme coordination team funds. We also have a joint website and have written a joint proposal for future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback on eachother's work contributing to greater understanding of the flood forecasting chain and impacts of flooding. Writing proposal for the next phase of Flooding from Intense Rainfall.
Impact Outcomes: Joint workshop, Joint website, Joint Flood Action Team, Joint proposal for funding Disciplines: Meteorology, Hydrology, Mathematics, Data Assimilation, Earth Observation
Start Year 2013
 
Description SINATRA collaboration 
Organisation University of Hull
Department Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SINATRA is the other project funded under the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. To date we have held several joint workshops with both of the project teams, and contributed staff time to the joint FLoAT (Flood Action Team). We have also carried out collaborative research funded as pilot projects using programme coordination team funds. We also have a joint website and have written a joint proposal for future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback on eachother's work contributing to greater understanding of the flood forecasting chain and impacts of flooding. Writing proposal for the next phase of Flooding from Intense Rainfall.
Impact Outcomes: Joint workshop, Joint website, Joint Flood Action Team, Joint proposal for funding Disciplines: Meteorology, Hydrology, Mathematics, Data Assimilation, Earth Observation
Start Year 2013
 
Description SINATRA collaboration 
Organisation University of Reading
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SINATRA is the other project funded under the NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. To date we have held several joint workshops with both of the project teams, and contributed staff time to the joint FLoAT (Flood Action Team). We have also carried out collaborative research funded as pilot projects using programme coordination team funds. We also have a joint website and have written a joint proposal for future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback on eachother's work contributing to greater understanding of the flood forecasting chain and impacts of flooding. Writing proposal for the next phase of Flooding from Intense Rainfall.
Impact Outcomes: Joint workshop, Joint website, Joint Flood Action Team, Joint proposal for funding Disciplines: Meteorology, Hydrology, Mathematics, Data Assimilation, Earth Observation
Start Year 2013
 
Description University of Bremen (Germany) FRANC/SINATRA/OSCA 
Organisation University of Bremen
Department MARUM
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research on estimation of correlated observation errors in numerical weather prediction is being applied to a new application of river flood modelling.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of flood model and numerical runs.
Impact Project ongoing.
Start Year 2016
 
Description collaboration with FCERMnet 
Organisation Flooding & Coastal Erosion Risk Management Network (FCERM.net)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In June 2014 Sue Ballard attended the FCERMnet Annual meeting and presented a poster on FFIR, and in particular FRANC, and also facilitated a breakout session. We have also contributed articles to the FCERMnet newsletter
Collaborator Contribution FCERMnet gives us access to a network of stakeholders.
Impact Presentations at FCERMnet meetings Contributions to FCERMnet newsletter
Start Year 2014
 
Title Estimating correlated error statistics in an ensemble transform Kalman filter 
Description This code describes a method developed by Waller et al (2014) that allows spatially correlated and time-dependent observation error to be diagnosed and incorporated in an ensemble data assimilation system. The method combines an ensemble transform Kalman filter with a method that uses statistical averages of background and analysis innovations to provide an estimate of the observation error covariance matrix. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact The software is hosted on the ESA (European Space Agency) website and available as a training or research tool. 
URL http://www.esa-da.org/content/finding-representativity-error
 
Title Weather radar attenuation correction 
Description We have been working in collaboration with the UK Met Office to develop corrections to weather radar observations due to wet radomes. The scheme is based on reflectivity, polarisation and radiometric emission measurements from the UK radar network. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The monitoring of radar attenuation due to wet radomes is now operational on the UK national weather radar network (since the August 2015 release of the Met Office radarnet system). Initial evidence shows that the new scheme should provide better radar observations of rainfall for use in weather and flood forecasting. However, further trials are still underway. 
 
Description "Storm/Hurricane Ophelia" - Radio Breeze 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 16th October 2017 PDRA/KE officer Rob Thompson discussed "Storm/Hurricane Ophelia" on Radio Breeze
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR745471.aspx
 
Description "The week Britain Froze" - Channel 4 dispatches 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact March 5th 2018 - Dr Rob Thompson appeared on "The week Britain Froze" - Channel 4 dispatches - Monday Prime time television- discussed the cause of the cold spell, and possible dangers of snow melt related flooding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8145088/?ref_=filmo_li_tt
 
Description BBC radio "Naked Scientists" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Dr Rob Thompson was interviewed for the BBC Radio Show "Naked Scientists". He discussed weather and flood forecasting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/interviews/interview/1001565/
 
Description Blog - "We need to talk about assimilation" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Feb 2018 Dr Ross Bannister posted a blog relating to his FFIr research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/flooding/2018/02/02/we-need-to-talk-about-assimilation/
 
Description Correlated observation errors: KE with ECMWF 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A small workshop was held at ECMWF attended by ECMWF and Korean Institute of Atmospheric Prediction Systems staff, as well as University of Reading staff and postgraduate students. We discussed our research on correlated observation errors in data assimilation and impacts on operational weather prediction.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Drive time Simon Mayo - Are snowflakes really unique? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 12th December 2017 - Dr Rob Thompson appeared on "Drive time Simon Mayo" discussing "Are snowflakes really unique?"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description FFIR Open Event at the Royal Society, November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact At the programme showcase event at the Royal Society in November 2018 there was a hands on opportunity to interact with the challenges of flooding from intense rainfall. Alongside presentations and an expert panel debate, participants could immerse themselves in a virtual reality simulation of a flash flood, watch convective rainfall develop on a giant forecast globe and share their thoughts on the modelling and communication chains that underpin flood forecasting. The event was attended by approximately 120 people. Many participants reported that they had enjoyed the event and learned something new.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description FFIR blog and twitter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blog and twitter feed have sparked media and public interest resulting in a number of media engagements.

A number of media engagements
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/flooding/blog/
 
Description FFIR films 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We created a film about the impacts of the FFIR programme. This was premiered at the FFIR Royal Society Open Event, and is now available online, and has been shared widely with a range of different audiences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/flooding/
 
Description Heart FM - Will there be a white Christmas? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In December 2017 Dr Rob Thompson discussed "Will there be a White Christmas?" on Heart FM
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Henley Cafe Scientifique 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Anthony Illingworth gave a presentation on extreme rainfall to Henley Cafe Scientifique on December 9, 2015. Eighty-five (85) people attended the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Into the Blue 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The FFIR programme ran a stand at the the NERC Into the Blue exhibition in Manchester, October 2016. The centre-piece was a virtual reality flood simulation. FRANC team members attended and contributed to the exhibit, that won 3rd prize in the public vote.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://intotheblue.nerc.ac.uk/
 
Description JBA (David Flack) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact David Flack visited JBA Group Ltd, in Skipton, Yorkshire to discuss his research and a possible internship.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Media interest (Ian Roulstone) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Ian Roulstone wrote articles for CNN and the Huffington Post, sparking feedback on their websites (e.g., 72 comments on CNN article).

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/13/opinion/roulstone-snow-accumulation
Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ian-roulstone/thunderstorms-invisible-to-weather-forecasters_b_5598750.html http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ian-roulstone/uk-weather_b_4729815.html

Improved public knowledge and interest in science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/13/opinion/roulstone-snow-accumulation
 
Description Media interest (St Jude Storm) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Rob Thompson was interviewed by several news agencies regarding the St Jude storm over the period October 26-28, 2013, including Sky News, Channel 4 News, BBC News (BBC News Channel, Radio 4, Radio 5 live). Sky News clips were also used by TalkSport, City TalkFM and Downtown Radio Belfast. Oscar Martinez-Alvarado provided comment for a website story about the storm (http://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR542673.aspx).

Sky News clips were used by a number of radio stations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR542673.aspx
 
Description RJT Media appearances 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Robert J Thompson made the following media appearances: 3 Feb - Sky news interview - On storm Doris, what is a "weather bomb"? Storm naming, and why the forecasts of such Atlantic storms are so good now.

8 May - BBC South - About the apparent "drought" in the region after a dry spell.

8 May - BBC South - About a "drought" in the Lake District and the lake hydrology.

12 Jan - UoR Video Press release - largely on social media - On Thundersnow and a forecast snow event - picked up by local and internet media (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guv7oBDeaeU - though much larger audience through other social media).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guv7oBDeaeU
 
Description RJT Radio appearances 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Dr Robert Thompson participated in several radio interviews.

October 2016: Sky News - Discussing Hurricane Matthew
December Heart Radio and BBC Berks - Discussing white Christmas and its forecasting challenges
30 December: Radio 4 - Farming today - discussing short range forecasting of rainfall and mentioning specifically the Franc work on improving rainfall estimates using rainfall.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description School presentation, March 2017 RJT 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Outdoor observation session for school science week
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description School visit (Denton Primary School) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Rob Thompson gave a presentation on weather science to primary pupils.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Weather Briefing for RMetS SE Local Centre local meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact Dr Rob Thompson gave monthly weather briefing at Royal Meteorological Society's South-East local centre meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://www.rmets.org/archived-events/south-east-local-centre
 
Description Year 9/10 schools visit day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Year 9/10 schools visit day to the Department of Meteorology where they learnt about weather science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description media interest (Spanish Plume) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Rob Thompson has had several media appearances in relation to the summer Spanish plume heavy rainfall events in early June 2014 including Heart FM, BBC Berkshire, The Guardian, The Sun, Get Bucks, Get Reading.

Initial media appearances sparked further appearances.

Further media enquiries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/flooding/blog/page/2/