54 Projects, page 1 of 11
This proposed research will develop the new methodology required to make a step-change in our ability to quantify fluvial flood risk at large scales, incorporating climate change. This will combine existing and emerging technologies, to provide national and regional estimates of flood risk based on gridded models for improved assessment of flood risk to recurrence intervals in excess of 50 years. Linking gridded rainfall, runoff, flood defence performance and flood inundation models will significantly improve our ability to assess flood risk from extreme events and explore the potential impacts of climate change, including new scenarios, as they become available from UKCIPnext. This will include a spatially and temporally consistent gridded rainfall model operating over large spatial domains, a high resolution gridded runoff and flow routing model capable of modelling at the national scale and a continuous system analysis of flood inundation, taking account of defence performance. As each of these models will be run continuously in time, a continuous, linked flood risk analysis system will be developed for the first time. Each model will also be able to use derived future changes in climate to produce predictions of future in flood risk. Moreover there will be an assessment of the model and data uncertainties, as well as estimates of uncertainty due to climate change. These uncertainty assessments will include the propagation of uncertainty through the linked modelling system. The research will utilise many existing sources of data and build upon some established models and techniques, such as the Neyman-Scott Rectangular Pulses (NSRP) stochastic rainfall at the University of Newcastle, the CEH Grid-to-Grid (G2G) model, the RASP system models, and the use ensemble scenario sets to represent uncertainty. At the regional or large basin-scale analyses will include a grid-based (5km) rainfall model linked to a (1km) gridded runoff and routing model and associated knowledge of defence systems and new routines developed to translate rainfall to river levels. Such a modelling system is ultimately applicable at a national scale and this will be demonstrated for river flows. The precipitation for this demonstration will be sourced from observed rainfall datasets, or modelled time series, such as those available from RCMs driven with re-analysis data. The impact of future changes in rainfall, runoff and river levels on flood risk will be assessed within an enhanced version of the HR Wallingford RASP HLMplus model. Scenarios of climate change will be derived from a range of both global (GCMs) and regional climate models (RCMs). There will also be an analysis of the application of multi-ensemble climate scenarios and the generation of probabilistic scenarios of change in future flood risk.
Much current discussion about transport and climate change focuses on the impact of transport on climate change. Indeed, many mitigation measures are focussed upon the transport change, and many mitigation measures are focussed upon the transport sector. However, FUTURENET recognizes that climate change also has an impact on transport. This impact has two dimensions: an engineering dimension derived from the interaction between climate design, weather events and the physical network, and a socio-economic dimension derived from the interaction between weather and climate and the patterns of transport demand. FUTURENET integrates both in assessing the future resilience of the UK transport system. This interdisciplinary approach will assist stakeholders in adapting the transport network and increasing resilience of critical transport infrastructure. Specifically FUTURENET seeks to develop a number of scenarios for how the transport system in the UK might look in 2050, and will investigate the resilience of each of these scenarios to the effects of climate change. The investigation will be carried out through the five work packagesa) WP1- The development of possible UK transport scenarios for 2050, through detailed literature surveys and the results of a number of expert workshops.b) WP2 - Identification of route corridor for study and development of an inventory of infrastructure that covers the complete range of infrastructure for the chosen route.c) WP3 - Models of the failure modes of transport systems, which will identify existing models and thresholds for the effects of climate on transport systems, and will develop new models where there are gaps in knowledge.d) WP4- Model development and application, which will develop an overarching model framework that will combine the models identified in WP3 with climate change scenarios and the transport scenarios outlined in WP1, to enable the resilience of different types of transport network to be evaluated.e) WP5 - Generic Tools and Dissemination, through which the results of the project will be made available in an accessible form to a wide variety of stakeholders, and the model of WP4 made available for application to other route corridors.FUTURENET brings together a wide variety of academic expertise spanning the engineering, environmental and social sciences, together with a diverse group of stakeholders in the transport industry. It has the potential both to develop a deeper understanding of the underlying science on the effects of climate change on transport systems and to provide information and useful tools on how such systems can be made more resilient.
Minerals are essential for economic development, the functioning of society and maintaining our quality of life. Consumption of most raw materials has increased steadily since World War II, and demand is expected to continue to grow in response to the burgeoning global population and economic growth, especially in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) and other emerging economies. We are also using a greater variety of metals than ever before. New technologies such as those required for modern communication and computing and to produce clean renewable, low-carbon energy require considerable quantities of many metals. In the light of these trends there is increasing global concern over the long-term availability of secure and adequate supplies of the minerals and metals needed by society. Of particular concern are 'critical' raw materials (E-tech element), so called because of their growing economic importance and essential contribution to emerging 'green' technologies, yet which have a high risk of supply shortage. The following E-tech elements are considered to be of highest priority for research: cobalt, tellurium, selenium, neodymium, indium, gallium and the heavy rare earth elements. Some of these E-tech elements are highly concentrated in seafloor deposits (ferromanganese nodules and crusts), which constitute the most important marine metal resource for future exploration and exploitation. For example, the greatest levels of enrichment of Tellurium are found in seafloor Fe-Mn crusts encrusting some underwater mountains. Tellurium is a key component in the production of thin film solar cells, yet is prone to security of supply concerns because of projected increased demand resulting from the widespread deployment of photovoltaic technologies; low recycling rates; and its production as a by-product from copper refining. As a result, it is vital to assess alternative sources of supply of tellurium and the other E-tech elements, the largest source of which is held as seafloor mineral deposits. Our research programme aims to improve understanding of E-tech element concentration in seafloor mineral deposits, which are considered the largest yet least explored source of E-tech elements globally. Our research will focus on two key aspects: The formation of the deposits, and reducing the impacts resulting from their exploitation. Our primarily focus is on the processes controlling the concentration of the deposits and their composition at a local scale (10's to 100's square km). These will involve data gathering by robotic vehicles across underwater mountains and small, deep-sea basins off the coast of North Africa and Brazil. By identifying the processes that result in the highest grade deposits, we aim to develop a predictive model for their occurrence worldwide. We will also address how to minimise the environmental impacts of mineral exploitation. Seafloor mining will have an impact on the environment. It can only be considered a viable option if it is environmentally sustainable. By gathering ecological data and experimenting with underwater clouds of dust that simulate those generated by mining activity, we will explore of extent of disturbance by seafloor mineral extraction. Metal extraction from ores is traditionally very energy consuming. To reduce the carbon footprint of metal extraction we will explore the novel use of organic solvents, microbes and nano-materials. An important outcome of the work will be to engage with the wider community of stakeholders and policy makers on the minimising the impacts of seafloor mineral extraction at national and international levels. This engagement will help inform policy on the governance and management of seafloor mineral exploitation.
Drought and water scarcity (D&WS) are significant threats to livelihoods and wellbeing in many countries, including the United Kingdom (UK). Parts of the UK are already water-stressed and are facing a wide range of pressures, including an expanding population and intensifying exploitation of increasingly limited water resources. In addition, many regions may become significantly drier in future due to environmental changes, all of which implies major challenges to water resource management. However, D&WS are not simply natural hazards. There are also a range of socio-economic and regulatory factors that may influence the course of droughts, such as water consumption practices and abstraction licensing regimes. Consequently, if drought and water scarcity are to be better managed, there is a need for a more detailed understanding of the links between hydrometeorological and social systems during droughts. Based on an analysis of information from a wide range of sectors (hydrometeorological, environmental, agricultural, regulatory, social and cultural), the project will characterise and quantify the history of drought and water scarcity (D&WS) since the late 19th century and will produce the first systematic account (UK Drought Inventory) of droughts in the UK. The Inventory forms the basis of a novel joint hydro-meteorological and socio-economic analysis of the drivers of drought and their impacts, with a focus on a search for characteristic systems interactions. The enhanced systems-based understanding is expected to improve decision-making for future drought management and planning, including more informed and thus effective public discourse related to D&WS. Currently there are no conceptual models of D&WS that describe interactions between hydrometerological and socio-economic drivers and environmental and societal impacts of droughts. The first task will therefore develop a new systems-based conceptualisation of D&WS. This will be used to investigate drought drivers, impacts and their interdependencies. The second task will produce the knowledge base for use within the project and the wider NERC UK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme. It involves the compilation of datasets and metadata, including data and information for selected case study episodes of D&WS. Information on the social and cultural aspects of D&WS will be compiled from oral histories and collation of reports in the historic and recent print and broadcast media, and the first analysis of social media from the 2010-12 drought will be carried out. The third task will develop the Drought Inventory by a novel combination of drought timelines, sector-specific narrative chronologies highlighting key events, and the production of new cross-sectoral drought indicators. To understand the interactions between social and environmental systems during D&WS episodes, the fourth task will: identify significant systems interactions across a range of droughts; identify key triggers and thresholds for droughts; and, describe the reasons behind any changes in systems interactions in droughts over the historic record. The final and fifth task examines how socio-economic context and water resource management practices contributed to resilience to episodes of D&WS in the historic record and considers the implications for changes in planning for the management of future droughts. It also provides an assessment of what are the most effective forms of dialogue and information exchange between the public and those responsible for water resource management that may contribute to beneficial outcomes during future episodes of D&WS. The key research outcomes will be: a systems-based understanding of D&WS in the context of multiple environmental and societal drivers; an accessible, integrated cross-sector UK Drought Inventory; improved advice and methods to support decision making related to drought management; and, new strategies to re-frame public discourse related to D&WS.
Prediction of changing coastal morphology over timescales of decades raises scientific challenges to which there are not yet widely applicable solutions. Yet improved predictions are essential in order to quantify the risk of coastal erosion, which is significant in its own right and also one of the main mediators of coastal flood risk. Whilst 'bottom-up' process-based models provide valuable evidence about hydrodynamic, sediment transport and morphodynamic processes in the short term, their predictive accuracy over scales of decades is for the time being fundamentally limited. Meanwhile, behavioural systems models, that focus on the main processes and feedback mechanisms that regulate coastal form have been shown to have predictive capability at the mesoscale (10-100 years and 10-100 km). However, their application has been limited to a rather narrow sub-set of coastal forms. The iCoast project is based upon a hierarchical systems concept which combines (i) the beneficial features of process-based models, (ii) a new generation of coastal behavioural systems models, and (iii) an extended approach to coastal systems mapping, which can be used to systematise and formalise different sources of knowledge about coastal behaviour. All the software developed within iCoast will be open source and OpenMI compliant. The research is focussed upon four deliverables that have been identified as major challenges in the NERC Natural Hazards Theme: Deliverable 1 will be an overall systems framework. The successful approach to coastal systems mapping developed by French et al. will be extended and applied to all of the England and Wales, making use of a new systems mapping tool. These new coastal systems maps can both supersede the coastal cells and sub-cells currently used in shoreline management planning and provide an evidence-based framework for more quantitative modelling. Therein, hydrodynamic and sediment transport coastal area models will be implemented at a broad spatial scale in order to provide evidence of wave and tidal forcings and sediment pathways. The systems framework will be implemented in open source software tools and coupled with methods for uncertainty analysis. Deliverable 2 will provide a new generation of behavioural geomorphic modules, which can be linked to enable simulation of coupled coastal-estuary-offshore landform behaviour at a meso-scale. Existing reduced complexity behavioural modules, several of which are held in-house within the iCoast consortium (SCAPE, ASMITA, various versions of 1-line beach models) will be reviewed and development and incremental improvement opportunities will be identified. They will be researched intensively by a team with unique experience of this type of model development. The scope of data-based modules that can exploit the growing datasets from coastal observatories will also be extended. The models will be integrated within a systems framework in order to study emergent properties and explore key sensitivities. Deliverable 3 will entail application and validation of two distinct coastal regions: the Suffolk Coast (Sub-Cell 3c) and Liverpool Bay (Sub-Cells 11a/11b), exploring the sensitivities of these coastal regions to changes in sediment supply resulting from sea-level rise, climate change and coastal management scenarios. This will yield the results needed for high impact publication and the demonstrations that are essential to build confidence in new approaches being transferred into practice. Deliverable 4 will facilitate knowledge transfer of the new methods through a range of dissemination mechanisms, including tutorials, manuals and knowledge transfer workshops. Our open source modelling strategy will initiate a community modelling approach in the coastal research community, at the same time as maximising access by practitioners to the knowledge generated at a time when requirements for coastal adaptation urgently require new predictive capability.