Storm Risk Mitigation through Improved Prediction & Impact Modelling

Hurricane viewed from space

Storms have had an increasing social and economic cost over recent years and are likely to be a main cause of loss of life or assets in the UK over the next few decades.

The Storm Risk Mitigation through Improved Prediction & Impact Modelling programme aims to improve short and longer term forecasting of storms and their impacts on catchments and coasts. NERC has allocated £4·9 million to this programme.

There are currently no news items.

Storms have had an increasing social and economic cost over recent years and are likely to be a main cause of loss of life or assets in the UK over the next few decades. The negative societal impacts caused by adverse weather are disproportionately influenced by extremes. Furthermore, with climate change, the costs associated with storm impacts are likely to increase.

This has highlighted the need to improve the quality of forecasting of storm track and intensity:

  • in the short-term (0-48 hours) through numerical weather prediction (NWP); and
  • in the long-term (over decades and with evolving climate change) through improved climate prediction.

On both timescales there is a need to improve forecasting of impacts.

Several research gaps need to be filled with regard to the prediction of mid-latitude storms, particularly extra-tropical cyclones, to inform short-term mitigation strategies against the impacts of hazardous weather such as high winds and heavy rain.

Given the high degree of influence of storms on other natural hazards - such as riverine, groundwater, pluvial and coastal flooding, ground stability (including landslides) and coastal erosion - in addition to their effects on the built environment, ecosystems and agriculture, there is a requirement for improved linkage with impact models to better inform policy and enable preventative measures to minimise risks associated with such storms. There is a need to improve the way in which information flows between numerical weather prediction, climate models and impacts models.

This programme has been structured into three interconnected deliverables.

The first deliverable is particularly focused on increasing our understanding of, and capability to predict, structures at the mesoscale in extra-tropical cyclones, to help improve quality of forecasting in the short-term through numerical weather prediction. Cyclones have a major role in producing large rainfall accumulations over short periods (the order of a day), leading to fluvial and some pluvial flooding. They are also central to both direct wind damage and coastal flooding through storm surges and waves.

The second programme deliverable is focused on increasing our understanding of the role of key physical processes within extra-tropical cyclones and how these will be affected by climate change; ie over the long-term. Other storms which also cause serious impacts, such as mesoscale convective systems, are not included in this programme.

The third deliverable from the storms programme will focus on determining how to use more effectively the finest resolution achievable from numerical weather predictions (about 1km) in order to deal with impact modelling issues such as downscaling and sensitivity of model outputs for catchment or coastal applications, or both.

The research programme is being commissioned within the context of widespread, substantial, and growing international funding for storm research (eg USA, EU countries and Japan), and an essential part of the programme will be engagement with international activities, such as the WMO 'The Observing System Research & Predictability Experiment' (THORPEX) programme.

Programme objective & deliverables

The objective of the programme is to improve short and longer term forecasting of storms and their impacts on catchments and coasts.

This objective will be achieved through three integrated deliverables:

  • Deliverable 1: Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) - increased understanding of, and capability to predict, mesoscale structures in extra-tropical cyclones.
  • Deliverable 2: Climate Science - improved understanding of how climate change and natural variability will affect the generation and evolution of extra-tropical cyclones.
  • Deliverable 3: Impacts - improved ability to use numerical weather predictions and climate model output for storms impact modelling.

Timing

2009 - 2014

Can I apply for a grant?

No further funding rounds are planned for this programme.

Budget

Up to £4·2 million was available for this call, at 80% of the full economic cost, with up to £2·1 million to address Deliverable 1 (Numerical Weather Prediction) and up to £1·05 million each to address Deliverables 2 (Climate Science) and 3 (Impacts).

Programme awards

Award details are shown in our online grants browser - Grants on the Web.

View details of funded applications - external link

Science Management Team

A joint Science Management Team (SMT), comprising of representatives from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the British Geological Survey, has been appointed for the Changing Water Cycle and Storm Risk Mitigation programmes.

The SMT is responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of the programme, working closely with the Programme Administrator based in Swindon Office.

The SMT comprises:

  • Professor Graham Leeks, Head of Science Coordination
  • Dr Rob Ward, Deputy Head of Science Coordination
  • Dr Daren Gooddy, Programme Management Coordinator
  • Dr Lucy Ball, Programme Management Coordinator

Programme Advisory Group

A Programme Advisory Group (PAG) has been appointed to advise on the delivery of the Storm Risk Mitigation programme. The PAG is chaired by Professor Denis Peach, the chair of the expert writing group. The PAG works closely with the Science Management Team and the Programme Administrator.

  • Professor Denis Peach, British Geological Survey (Chair)
  • Dr Sean Longfield, Environment Agency
  • Dr David Burridge, World Meteorological Organisation
  • Professor Ian Townend, HR Wallingford Director of Research

Storms Expert Group

The Expert Group that helped define the science and implementation plans for the Storm Risk Mitigation through Improved Prediction & Impact Modeling programme, and supported the development of the announcement of opportunity, comprised:

  • Professor Denis Peach (Chair)
  • Professor Alan Blyth
  • Professor Peter Clark
  • Dr Hannah Cloke
  • Professor Peter Jan van Leeuwen
  • Dr Len Shaffrey
  • Claire Sunshine
  • Professor Geraint Vaughan
  • Dr Judith Wolf
  • Dr Tim Wollings

Moderating Panel Membership - 15 July 2010

The moderating panel which met to assess the grants submitted to the 25 March 2010 deadline comprised:

  • Professor Denis Peach, British Geological Survey (Chair)
  • Dr David Burridge, World Meteorological Organisation
  • Professor George Craig, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
  • Mr Matthew Foote, Willis Research Network
  • Professor Christopher Kilsby, Newcastle University
  • Professor Stuart Lane, Durham University

The following documents and links are related to or give more information about this programme.

Implementation plan (PDF, 112KB)

Science plan (PDF, 60KB)