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Using high-resolution climate change information in water management: a decision-makers' perspective

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hayley Fowler


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The UK Climate Change Act requires the Environment Agency to report the risks it faces from climate change and actions taken to address these. Derived information from projections is critical to understanding likely impacts in water management. In 2019, the UK published an ensemble of high-resolution model simulations. The UKCP Local (2.2 km) projections can resolve smaller scale physical processes that determine rainfall and other variables at subdaily time-scales with the potential to provide new insights into extreme events, storm runoff and drainage management. However, simulations also need to inform adaptation. The challenge ahead is to identify and provide derived products without the need for further analysis by decision-makers. These include a wider evaluation of uncertainty, narratives about rainfall change across the projections and bias-corrected datasets. Future flood maps, peak rainfall estimates, uplift factors and future design storm profiles also need detailed guidance to support their use. Central government support is justified in the provision of up-to-date impacts information to inform flood risk management, given the large risks and exposure of all sectors. The further development of projections would benefit from greater focus and earlier scoping with industry representatives, operational tool developers and end users. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Intensification of short-duration rainfall extremes and implications for flash flood risks'.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Orr HG, Ekstrom M, Charlton MB, Peat KL, Fowler HJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Year: 2021

Volume: 379

Issue: 2195

Print publication date: 19/04/2021

Online publication date: 01/03/2021

Acceptance date: 08/10/2020

ISSN (print): 1364-503X

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2962

Publisher: Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2020.0219

PubMed id: 33641469


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