PhD Vacancy - Near real-time correction of flood forecasting using high-resolution satellite data for multi-hazard risk assessment in lowland tropical regions
Supervisors: Dr Robert Grabowski (Cranfield); Prof. Chris Kilsby (Newcastle); Dr Greg O’Donnell (Newcastle); Dr Eunice Perez (Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco)
Start: Oct 2016 -2019
Status: Funded Phd studentship, DREAM CDT
About the Post
Flood modelling and forecasting are essential to a government’s infrastructure and emergency planning. Accurate forecasts, though, are difficult to achieve, even in developed countries with decades of experience and detailed topographical and hydrological datasets for calibration and validation, as demonstrated by the recent Cumbria floods. Forecasting is even more challenging in large tropical regions, which have limited data availability and modest meteorological forecasting capabilities. More worryingly, their large human populations, economically-important industries (e.g. oil/gas, agriculture), and ecologically-important habitats mean that flooding is connected to multiple other significant risks (e.g. pollution).
This PhD project will overcome some of these challenges by (1) using new near real-time, high resolution satellite datasets to improve the medium- and short-term flood risk assessment generated by probabilistic ensemble flood forecasting to data-poor tropical regions, and (2) applying the flood model to the assessment of flood-induced pollution risk. The case study for the project will be the Mexican State of Tabasco, which occupies a large, low-lying, topographically-complex area that experiences flooding from several large rivers which are affected by weather systems from both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The State is home to a large, economically-important on- and off-shore oil industry, which is both impacted by the flooding and a source of significant pollution risk during floods.
The student will work closely with academics at Cranfield University, Newcastle University and the Universidad Juaréz Autónoma de Tabasco (UJAT) on this modelling study. The student’s research will be published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at academic conferences, and will feed into the development of an operational water risk management system for the Mexican State of Tabasco.
Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Engineering, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Geography or Natural Sciences.
Please note this studentship will involve travel and working in Mexico. Applicants having written and spoken Spanish skills will be greatly advantageous.