Professor Hannah Cloke awarded Vice-Chancellor’s Public Communications Prize 2015

NERC H ClokeCongratulations to Hannah Cloke, who has won another prestigious award for her high impact research and media engagement.  Hannah has been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Public Communications Prize, which she will receive at the meeting of the University Court next month.

The prize is in recognition of Hannah’s work during the flooding crisis, with high profile appearances in the national and international media which led to a secondment to Government to advise Downing Street on the ongoing crisis.

To find out more about Hannah’s work, check out her staff profile and follow her on Twitter.


Professor Hannah Cloke wins NERC Impact Award

Hannah with Professor Dame Julia Slingo DBE, Chief Scientist at the Met Office, Professor Duncan Wingham, Chief Executive of NERC and Professor Alan Thorpe, Director-General of ECMWF

Hannah with Professor Dame Julia Slingo DBE, Chief Scientist at the Met Office, Professor Duncan Wingham, Chief Executive of NERC and Professor Alan Thorpe, Director-General of ECMWF

Professor Hannah Cloke won the NERC Impact Award for Early Career Researcher at an awards ceremony in London last night. This is awarded to  “an early-career researcher who has achieved exceptional economic and/or societal impact within the UK or internationally” and recognises Hannah’s work in understanding flood risk.

The awards are the first in a series of activities and events that will mark NERC’s 50th anniversary. The programme of events will demonstrate how NERC science has contributed to the UK over the past 50 years.

The award was presented by Helen Czerski, currently a Research Fellow at UCL, who is quoted as saying “Early career researchers are the most diverse group of scientists- we need that diversity of ideas”.

About Hannah

Hannah Cloke is a hydrologist and physical geographer specializing in land surface modelling, flood forecasting and catchment hydrology. She works closely with the Environment Agency, the Met Office, the Flood Forecasting Centre and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts as well as a wide range of other national and international partners. She advised government on the Jan/Feb 2014 floods crisis and provided substantial expert commentary in the media.

Hannah is currently a member of the of the Environment Agency-DEFRA R&D flood science programme advisory group. She is a member of the NERC Peer Review Panel C, Floods theme coordinator for the International Hydrological Programme (IHP): FRIEND network, and a committee member of the EGU Hydrology section: Catchment hydrology. She is on the editorial board of the journals Meteorological Applications and Hydrology and Earth System Sciences and is guest editor for Hydrological Processes.

Hannah is an active member of the HEPEX project and recently served on the British Hydrological Society committee.

New PhD Studentship in Land Surface Hydrology

A four year award studentship is available at the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. The title of the project is “Representing Uncertainty in Land Surface Hydrology for Seasonal Forecasting“.This PhD is part of a wider research project led by the University of Reading and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC):  IMPETUS: Improving Predictions of Drought for User Decision-Making. The application deadline is 15th May 2014. For more information about the studentship, please follow this link.



Global Floods Working group

Dr Liz Stephens and Dr Hannah Cloke were invited to attend a workshop 4-5 March. Liz presented her work on GloFAS and Hannah presented her Flooding From Intense Rainfall SINATRA project (). 

The 4th workshop of the Global Flood Working Group, hosted at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in the UK,  gathered around 90 scientists, practitioners and users to kick off the Global Flood Partnership (GFP). GFP is a unique international forum aimed at developing global flood observational and modelling infrastructure, leveraging on existing initiatives, for better predicting and managing flood disaster impacts and flood risk.

It has wide buy-in from international organisations, including the European Commission, World Meteorological Organisation, UNISDR, World Bank, World Food Program, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, as it is complementary with existing efforts and has the  specific goal of bridging the gap between science and operational/policy needs. In fact, within the coming months the GFP will be delivering daily information on upcoming and ongoing floods to a wide range of different end users including the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre, the World Food Program, national services and private industry. From the scientific point of view, it is the only forum where the meteorological, hydrological, remote sensing and disaster management communities meet to discuss floods at global level, and is attended by top scientists from Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

Flood Risk remains as rain eases

With ~200mm of rainfall in just over 3 weeks, the Thames Valley along with many other parts of the country are again under water. This morning flood levels in many areas are still rising and many Environment Agency flood warnings remain in place. With very saturated ground, recent rainfall has led to a combination of river flooding and also the water table rising above the ground to flood roads and properties. Dr Hannah Cloke, a flood hydrologist from the Department of Geography and Environmental Science has been observing the flooding on the River Thames and talking to Thames Valley Residents. The current flood levels are in some areas similar to the floods of January 2003.


Dr Hannah Cloke surveys the flooding from the river Thames at Pangbourne on Thursday 

SINATRA to study flooding from intense rainfall

Erosion and deposition derived from before and after LiDAR images from the Cockermouth floods

Erosion and deposition derived from before and after LiDAR images from the Cockermouth floods

Hannah Cloke has won a large NERC consortium grant as part of NERC’s Flooding From Intense Rainfall (FFIR) call entitled: ‘Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding – SINATRA’.

Extreme rainfall events may only last for a few hours at most, but can generate terrifying and destructive floods. Their impact can be affected by a wide range factors such as the location and intensity of the rainfall, the shape and steepness of the catchment it falls on, how much sediment is moved by the water and the vulnerability of the communities in the flood’s path. These events are by their nature rapid, making it very difficult for researchers to ‘capture’ measurements at the time. The complexity, speed and lack of field measurements make it difficult to create computer models to predict flooding.

NERC launched the FFIR research programme to reduce the risks from surface water and flash floods by improving our identification and prediction of the weather, flooding and sediment and debris moved by floods. A major requirement of the programme is identifying how particular catchments may be vulnerable to sudden flooding, due to factors such as catchment area, shape, geology and soil type as well as land-use.

Project SINATRA will address these issues in three stages:

  1. Increase our understanding of what factors cause FFIR
  2. Use this new understanding and data to improve models of FFIR so we can predict where they may happen nationwide
  3. Use these new findings and predictions to provide the Environment Agency and other professionals with information and software they can use to manage FFIR, reducing their damage and impact to communities.

Co-Investigators at Reading are Anne Verhoef (GES), David Mason and Richard Allan (Meteorology) and Sarah Dance (Maths and Statistics).

The  other institutions in the consortium are Newcastle University, University of Bristol, King’s College London, University of Exeter, University of Hull and the British Geological Survey (BGS).

There has been severs flooding in Germany. Read about it in Spiegal online.

The European flood awareness system (EFAS) is designed to predict such floods on the medium range (15 days in advance) and its operational centre is situated in Reading. Hannah Cloke works closely with the EFAS team researching ways to improve flood forecasting.


Read about Hannah

Review on modelling climate impact on floods highlights large uncertainties in results

Road closed due to flooding

The UK has over £82 billion worth of assets at risk from river flooding and flooded homes cause misery to thousands of people.

The NERC programme Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) is research to predict floods minutes to weeks and seasons to decades ahead.

Research by Dr Hannah Cloke, Reader in Hydrology, features in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society‘s Special Issue on Flooding from Extreme Events published  this month. The article underlines the challenges in using the current generation of Regional Climate Models for local climate impact studies on flooding.

Looking at the current best practice in modelling climate impact on floods with ensemble climate projections, the study highlights the stark differences in results when using different methods and also the strong assumptions made in using Model Output Statistics to produce the estimates of future river discharge.

Read the article on-line: Modelling climate impact on floods with ensemble climate projections

View the Special Issue: Flood Risk from Extreme Events FREE 

Read about the NERC FREE programme

Read about Dr Hannah Cloke