The flooding experienced in the UK during the winter of 2015/16 underlined our continuing vulnerability to extreme floods and prompted speculation that such events are a result of climate change. Whilst there is growing evidence that such events can be attributed to anthropogenic warming, much of this increased confidence comes from detection and attribution studies using large climate model ensembles. Evidence for long-term changes in the frequency and severity of floods in the UK’s observational record is more difficult to identify, particularly because of the inherent variability in natural systems. Moreover, other factors such as increasing urbanisation and changing land use practices can affect flood risk.
Uncertainty due to projected climate and environmental change presents a major challenge to flood risk managers who need to build resilience into their plans. Research carried out by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) is addressing this through robust, national-scale studies using a variety of approaches including traditional and non-stationary frequency analysis, hydrological modelling and trend analysis using systematic and historical data. The talk will highlight relevant aspects of CEH’s ongoing research programme and will demonstrate how the results will feed into new methods tailored to the needs of the flood risk community.Back to all speakers