FUTURE-DRAINAGE: Ensemble climate change rainfall estimates for sustainable drainage

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

The new climate projections from the UK have just been released and as part of this, next year, there will be the release of outputs from a number of very high resolution climate models across the UK. These models are able to represent the daily cycle of rainfall, and rainfall characteristics like intensity, duration and frequency of occurrence, much better than coarser resolution models that have been used previously and can therefore help us to understand how short-duration intense rainfall events and flash floods might change in the future. Here we propose to couple them, for the first time, with new, high-resolution flood models for small rapid response catchments, like Boscastle, or urban areas that suffer from flash floods. Together they will be used to update guidance for urban drainage design and methods for urban surface water flood risk assessment in the UK: priorities identified in the National Flood Resilience Review (2016) and restated in the UK Adaptation Sub-Committee's UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 Synthesis Report: Appendix on Urgency Scoring Tables which identified "Risks of sewer flooding due to heavy rainfall" as an area where "more action is needed to deliver sustainable drainage systems, upgrade sewers where appropriate and tackle drivers increasing surface runoff (e.g. impermeable surfacing in urban areas)." This will include new 'uplifts' that can be applied to design storm events to represent climate change effects on storms and recommendations on the updates of existing methods and tools used to tackle surface water flooding.

FUTURE-DRAINAGE will add to the evidence-base for the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment and the National Adaptation Programme; and is aligned with the UK Government's 25 Year Environment Plan (2018), specifically the goal of reducing risk of harm from environmental hazards and of adapting to climate by improving climate resilience in the UK. The importance of revised rainfall uplifts and new guidance for UK urban drainage design and urban flood resilience is evidenced in the letters of support our project team has solicited from UK water and sewerage companies, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and informal support from the Environment Agency who considers the work is of particular relevance to applications in surface water management and design of storm water systems. Therefore, FUTURE-DRAINAGE will deliver nationally important research outputs for uptake by government agencies and industrial sectors to improve climate change adaption and resilience in the UK.

Planned Impact

Building upon our strong track-record of collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders and project partners in previous NERC-funded Climate Resilience research, we have taken care to work closely with the various communities who will directly benefit from our research in building the Case for Support for this proposal. We will continuously engage with this community throughout the project.

The new UKCP18 ensemble CPM projections together with new, high-resolution flood models developed in SINATRA/TENDERLY by Co-I Liang provide an exciting and timely opportunity to update guidance for urban drainage design and guidance and methods for urban surface water flood risk assessment in the UK: priorities identified in the National Flood Resilience Review (2016) and reiterated in the UK Adaptation Sub-Committee's UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 Synthesis Report: Appendix on Urgency Scoring Tables (ASC 2016) which identified "In4: Risks of sewer flooding due to heavy rainfall" as an area where "more action needed to deliver sustainable drainage systems, upgrade sewers where appropriate and tackle drivers increasing surface runoff (e.g. impermeable surfacing in urban areas)." In2 and PB5 also cover risks to infrastructure and people from surface flooding (including surface water flooding). FUTURE-DRAINAGE will add to the evidence-base for the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment and the National Adaptation Programme; and is aligned with the UK Government's 25 Year Environment Plan (2018), specifically the goal of reducing risk of harm from environmental hazards and of adapting to climate by improving climate resilience in the UK. The importance of revised rainfall uplifts and new guidance for UK urban drainage design and urban flood resilience is evidenced in the letters of support our project team has solicited from UK water and sewerage companies (WaSCs) and the offer of informal support from the Environment Agency who considers the work is of particular relevance to applications in surface water management and design of storm water systems. Therefore, FUTURE-DRAINAGE will deliver nationally important research outputs for uptake by government agencies and industrial sectors to improve climate change adaption and resilience in the UK.

The main beneficiaries of this work will be the practitioners, regulators and policymakers such as the UK water and sewerage companies (WaSCs), the Environment Agency (EA), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Defra, the Committee for Climate Change, and consultants in the water field . The UK WaSCs have an interest in revised rainfall uplifts to help with their investment planning cycle and have agreed to participate in the project through the reviewing of project reports to ensure benefit / applicability to UK water industry and attendance of the project start-up and final meetings. Government departments and agencies with responsibility for planning, adaptation and mitigation of urban flood risks and flooding from urban drainage systems have a direct interest in the most up-to-date projections from climate models. Providing revised rainfall uplifts from ensemble CPM projections will enable each of these users to better plan for future changes. It will benefit the EA and SEPA who are responsible for managing flood risk, forecasting and warning the public of floods but still have gaps in their understanding of how extremes of rainfall may change; the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk in England; the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) with responsibility for coordinating UK resilience to major floods through the co-ordination of regional and local organisations and emergency planning. This work is also likely to inform the next UK Climate Change Risk Assessment and subsequent action through the National Adaptation Programme with the Committee on Climate Change.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Allan RP (2020) Advances in understanding large-scale responses of the water cycle to climate change. in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

publication icon
Dale M (2021) Managing the effects of extreme sub-daily rainfall and flash floods-a practitioner's perspective. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

publication icon
Fowler H (2021) Anthropogenic intensification of short-duration rainfall extremes in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment

publication icon
Fowler HJ (2021) Intensification of short-duration rainfall extremes and implications for flood risk: current state of the art and future directions. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

publication icon
Fowler HJ (2021) Towards advancing scientific knowledge of climate change impacts on short-duration rainfall extremes. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

 
Description Prioritisation Task Group (Environment Agency Flood Hydrology Road Map)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact not known yet
 
Description cco-chair of net zero task force in Newcastle
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact ongoing
 
Title New method for modelling extremes accounting for spatial dependence 
Description Steven Chan has worked with Ben Youngman at Exeter University to develop a new method for modelling extremes accounting for spatial dependence in the data. As part of this approach a spatial model has been developed to allow all the UKCP 2.2km extremes data to be fitted at once. This has the benefit of producing much more robust estimates of high return period (i.e. very rare) events. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None yet 
 
Description 1st RMetS Climate Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Fowler, H.J. 2019. Water Cycle Risks talk. 1st RMetS Climate Forum, London, 4th June 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Better Ways of Managing Surface Water Sprint, Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Better Ways of Managing Surface Water Sprint, Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival 2019 - gave talk on Global intensification in observed short-duration rainfall extremes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description CIWEM Urban Drainage Group Conference 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk - Dale, M., Fowler, H.J., Kendon, E.J. 2019. Future Drainage - UKCP18 data for more robust future rainfall change estimates. CIWEM Urban Drainage Group Conference 2019, Nottingham, 4-6th Nov 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Environmental Rights: Law, Science and Policy Symposium, 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Fowler, H.J. 2019. talk on Climate and Water Cycle Risks. Environmental Rights: Law, Science and Policy Symposium, King's College London, 24th June 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description FUTURE DRAINAGE workshop, London, September 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact FUTURE DRAINAGE workshop, London, September 2019. Provided overview of UKCP18 data available, including 2.2km projections, to representatives from water companies. Discussed water company needs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Keynote 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Fowler, H.J. 2019. Keynote: Global intensification in observed short-duration rainfall extremes. WETWeather, Gregynog, Wales, 29th April - 1st May 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Newcastle Climate Summit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Talk on climate science and emergency at Newcastle Climate Summit in Feb 2020
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Public Talk: The extreme future of extreme weather 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Fowler, H.J. 2019. Public Talk: The extreme future of extreme weather. Pint of Science Festival, Newcastle, 21st May 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Royal Meteorological Society, RMETS Yorkshire Group talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Fowler, H.J. 2019. The reality of climate change: increasing extreme weather hazards. Royal Meteorological Society, RMETS Yorkshire Group, University of Leeds, 16th October 2019. public talk
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Royal Society hooke meeting organisation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Organised discussion meeting at the Royal Society on Intensification of sub-daily extreme rainfall and flash flood risks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Royal Society of Chemical Industry talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Fowler, H.J. 2019. Public Lecture: Climate Change: Increasing Extreme Weather and Impacts on Water Resources. Royal Society of Chemical Industry, London, 26th June 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Royal Society talk 
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 Royal Society meeting where Kendon presented a talk on "Using a convection-permitting ensemble for projecting future change in precipitation extremes". This included preliminary results looking at future changes in return levels of hourly precipitation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Talk to Climate Change Committee (Newcastle City Council) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Talk on climate science to Newcastle City Council Climate Change Committee in Jan 2020
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description keynote Atmospheric Science Conference 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Fowler, H.J. 2019. Keynote: Global intensification in observed short-duration rainfall extremes. Atmospheric Science Conference 2019; Weather, Climate and Air Quality, Birmingham, 2nd - 3rd July, 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019