NERC-funded researchers win Lloyd's Science of Risk Prizes
30 November 2012
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) wishes to congratulate Professor Paul Bates from the University of Bristol and Professor Richard Dawson from Newcastle University, whose research papers have won this year's Lloyd's Science of Risk Prize in the Natural Hazards and Climate Change categories respectively.
A number of other NERC-funded researchers have also won runner-up prizes.
Winning the Natural Hazards category, Professor Bates' paper describes a new set of flood modelling equations that overcome the limitations of previous equations used by the insurance industry.
This new way to model floods is both quicker and less costly to perform than previous models used by the industry. It allows a higher resolution model to be run for the same cost as lower resolution models based on the currently used approach. The new flood models can actually simulate flow around buildings in urban areas, which allows risk to be estimated at the individual property rather than at the postcode level.
The impacts of the paper's findings are already being felt by the insurance industry, with specialist companies and academics already developing flood models based on the equations outlined in Professor Bates' paper. In time, these methods will be used to inform risk analysis and pricing, and will stimulate research to improve flood modelling methods yet further.
Flooding was also the subject of the other paper that won the Climate Change category prize. Professor Bates also co-authored this paper.
Professor Dawson's paper summarised a study by a team of researchers within the coastal programme at Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which was part-funded by NERC. The team studied a stretch of shoreline along the East Anglian coast to understand the interconnection between the risks of erosion and flooding. This highlighted that the benefits of protecting our coastline from erosion should be balanced against the impacts of coastal flooding. They found that in some cases allowing natural erosion to take place could reduce the impact of flooding associated with rising sea levels.
This research can be used by many different groups with an interest in coastal flooding, such as local residents, policymakers, insurers, scientists and farmers - it provides a common platform for them to understand each other's perspectives, discuss potential compensatory arrangements and collectively decide the best way forward for the coastline in their area.
The award ceremony took place on Thursday 29 November 2012, and the winners in each category received a cheque for £5,000.
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Climate Change winning paper
'Integrated analysis of risks of coastal flooding and cliff erosion under scenarios of long term change' by Richard Dawson, Mark Dickson, Robert Nicholls, Jim Hall, Mike Walkden, Peter Stansby, Mustafa Mokrech, Julie Richards, Jian Zhou, Jessica Milligan, Andrew Jordan, Stephen Pearson, Jon Rees, Paul Bates, Sotiris Koukoulas, Andrew Watkinson. Climatic Change, Vol 95 pp249-288 (2009).
Natural Hazards winning paper
'A simple inertial formulation of the shallow water equations for efficient two dimensional flood inundation modelling' by PD Bates, MS Horritt, and TJ Fewtrell. Journal of Hydrology, 387, 33-45 (2010).
Briefing note: 12/12
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