Current projects

Data Assimilation for the REsilient city (DARE), EPSRC Senior Fellowship in Digital Technology for Living with Environmental Change (EPSRC EP/P002331/1) Urban areas often suffer from increased vulnerability to natural hazards, including extreme weather and other environmental factors, due to dense populations and infrastructure. Our ability to manage these hazards is limited, in large part, by the accuracy of computational model predictions that we use for long-term planning (e.g., designing flood defences) and the production of timely forecasts (e.g., guiding emergency responders and the deployment of flood alleviation measures). However, urban areas also present rich sources of data, that to date have not been fully explored or exploited (e.g., citizen science, smartphones, internet of things etc.). My vision is to use dynamic data assimilation (DA) to promote a revolution in the skill of computational model predictions by combining them with new sources of observational data, and to ensure the impact of these developments. The research will be pursued in the specific contexts of urban weather and flood prediction. However, there is strong potential for digital technology (DT) to make a transformative impact on the resilience of cities in the broader context of the Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) theme. To champion the DT/LWEC interface, I will inspire a community of researchers that crosses barriers between academic disciplines, creates bridges between academia and industry and provides space for junior and senior researchers to explore ideas.


Flooding From Intense Rainfall (FFIR) is a 5 year NERC funded programme which aims to reduce the risks of damage and loss of life caused by surface water and flash floods through improved identification, characterisation and prediction of interacting meteorological, hydrological and hydro-morphological processes that contribute to flooding associated with high-intensity rainfall events. There are currently three projects within the FFIR programme, all directed by the University of Reading, FRANC, SINATRA and TENDERLY, as well as the Programme Coordination Team.

FRANC: Forecasting Rainfall exploiting new data Assimilation techniques and Novel observations of Convection (NERC NE/K008900/1)

SINATRA: Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding (NERC NE/K00896X/1)

TENDERLY: Towards END-to End flood forecasting and a tool for ReaL-time catchment susceptibilitY (NERC NE/K00896X/1)


Improving high impact weather forecasts via an international comparison of ObServation error Correlations in data Assimilation (OSCA) (NERC International Opportunity Fund NE/N006682/1). This project aims to improve forecasts of high impact weather. To provide accurate forecasts it is important to assimilate observations containing detailed information on appropriate scales. However, in current practice, about 80% of the observations are discarded to reduce the observation error correlations. Calculation of observation error statistics is difficult as they cannot be measured directly, and while the general sources of error can sometimes be conjectured, they are not known specifically in a quantitative sense. There is a strong expectation that improving the description of observation errors could lead to a significant improvement in forecast quality. The goal of this work is to make a step-change in understanding observation uncertainty and improving its treatment in data assimilation. This objective will be achieved by carrying out an international inter-comparison of observation error covariances for Doppler radar wind observations, allowing us to investigate a) whether major sources of observation error can be identified and the uncertainty reduced and b) the impact of the type of data assimilation (ensemble or variational) on the diagnostics used to estimate the errors.


List of grants held

2017 NERC Policy-impact fund. Additional funds for the Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme. Joint Principal Investigator with Hannah Cloke. £ 23,113.
2016 EPSRC Senior Fellowship in Digital Technology for Living with Environmental Change (EP/P002331/1) Data Assimilation for the REsilient city (DARE), £1,706,722, Principal Investigator. Project partner(in kind): London Climate Change Partnership £5,000, Met Office £77,500, JBA Trust £9750, Aston University £5,000, Environment Agency £5,000, Flood Forecasting Centre £5,000
2016 NERC NE/K00896X/1 TENDERLY: Towards END-to End flood forecasting and a tool for ReaL-time catchment susceptibilitY £968334
2015 NERC International Opportunity Fund NE/N006682/1 Improving high impact weather forecasts via an international comparison of ObServation error Correlations in data Assimilation (OSCA) £31,771, Principal Investigator. Project partner: Deutsche Wetterdienst £117,500, Met Office, £6,000
2014 NERC Advanced Training Award NE/M006441/1: Data Assimilation and Visualization in Environmental Sciences £50,688 Co-Investigator
2014 NERC Flooding from Intense Rainfall Programme Coordination Team £ 460,000 1 April 2014 - 31 March 2019(Successful)
2013 NERC NE/K008900/1 Forecasting Rainfall exploiting new data Assimilation techniques and Novel observations of Convection (FRANC), £875,494, 1 June 2013-31 May 2017. Project partner: Met Office £1,608,000 Principal Investigator
2013 NERC NE/K00896X/1 Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding (SINATRA) £2,636,166, 1 September 2013 - 31 March 2017. Project Partners: Halcrow Group £25,000; JBA Consulting £35,000; Met Office/Environment Agency Flood Forecasting Centre £3,400, ECMWF £1,800; Dept for Business, Innovation and Strategy, £1,800; Health and Safety Laboratory £1,800; Swedish Meteorological & Hydrological Institute £1,800; Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure, £1,800; Health Protection Agency £1,800; Met Office £1,800. Co-investigator
2010 "Flood modelling and data assimilation" NERC research experience placement £2500.
2010 "Developing enhanced impact models for integration with next generation NWP and climate outputs" NERC storm risk mitigation programme. NE/I005242/1 £357917 Reading PI.
2010 "Magnificent Maths! Using Maths in the real world." RCUK National Science & Engineering Week Awards. £1150. PI
2009 "Maths Pictures Project". The Friends of the University of Reading. £900. Principal applicant.
2009 "FREE Ensemble Workshop", NERC FREE (Flood Risk from Extreme Events) programme, £15,612, Workshop organiser
2008-13 "National Centre for Earth Observation", NERC, NE/F001460/1 £37,262,000, Theme Leader
2008 "Observability of the carbon cycle", NERC Carbon Fusion programme: undergraduate project travel and subsistence costs, £900, Principal Investigator
2007 "Acquisition of ASAR/ERS-2 SAR scenes of the Dee Estuary and Morecambe Bay", ESA Category 1 status. 60 scenes at £18,000 value, Co-Investigator
2007-2010 "Changing coastlines: data assimilation for morphodynamic prediction and predictability", NERC FREE (Flood Risk from Extreme Events) programme, NE002048/1, £328,757, Prinicpal Investigator
2007-2010 "Exploitation of new data sources, data assimilation and ensemble techniques for storm and flood forecasting", NERC FREE (Flood Risk from Extreme Events) programme NE/E002137/1, £525,903, Co-Investigator
2006 "Mathematics of Data Assimilation" Conference Grant, London Mathematical Society, £2700. Workshop co-organiser
2006-7 The Data Assimilation Research Centre Extension, NERC Centre of Excellence in Earth Observation, NE/D001234/1, £1063512, Principal Investigator
2005 "Information content of spatially correlated observation errors" Undergraduate Research Scholarship, Royal Meteorological Society, £1200, Principal Investigator

Page navigation