Droughts and floods represent the extreme end members of catchment hydrological conditions, and both have the potential to cause severe socioeconomic damage and loss of life in places where they occur. Although the underlying causes and mechanisms of droughts and floods are extensively studied, we do not yet have a complete understanding of how catchments transition out of these extreme conditions and the speed at which they move from one extreme to the other. Large scale climatic patterns are known to be the first order controls on the occurrence of, and relief from, floods and droughts. However, the role played by physical catchment attributes in influencing the extreme hydrological conditions and mediating the transition between them has not been fully explored. Given that IPCC’s future climate projections indicate an increase in extreme weather events in many parts of world, it is critically important to: (1) understand how our physical environment can influence the occurrence of, and transition between, extreme hydrological conditions, and (2) develop land use intervention strategies to help mitigate their severity. This project will investigate the influence of physical catchment attributes on the hydrological transition between droughts and floods. Our approach will involve use of a global catchment dataset (>2000 catchments) to characterise flood and drought events, quantify their bi-directional transitions, and explore their relationships with physical catchment attributes using Machine Learning. Physics based hydrological modelling will also be used to assess the potential role of land use interventions for mitigating the severity of droughts and floods. The project benefits from being a CASE studentship. Successful student will have the opportunity to work closely with Willis Towers Watson, a major multinational company in the flood insurance industry. The student will also receive a comprehensive training programme that encompasses specialist scientific training as well as generic professional skills.
Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Geography, Environmental Science, Hydrology, Civil & Environmental Engineering or Mathematics/Statistics. Applicants who additionally have a Masters degree, or relevant work experience, will be particularly competitive.
For further details, please contact Dr Sopan Patil in the School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University
To apply for this project follow this link