Flood and drought centre of excellence opens

In a timely move, considering current UK flooding levels, the University of Leicester will tomorrow launch a centre which aims to predict the effects of climate change and assess the impacts of severe drought and flooding.

The Centre for Landscape and Climate Change will use satellite data to study water cycle changes around the world. 

It will have access to data from up to 30 years ago, and it is hoped, will enable the forecast of water conditions spanning the next 70 years.

Researchers hope to research both global trends and local issues. They intend to provide recommendations to policy makers and the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The centre’s director, from the university’s department of geography, Professor Heiko Balzter said: “In this research centre I hope to provide a research focus that brings together physical scientists, geologists, climate scientists, ecologists, hydrologists, social scientists, computer scientists and mathematicians.

“The problem we are studying is very complex, and needs experts from a wide range of disciplines to understand it.”

Scientists claim that the need for research into water cycles is more important than ever, considering the increasing in dramatic changes in weather patterns.

The centre’s research manager Dr Virginia Nicolás-Perea said: “Researching the water cycle is very important because it affects our way of life.

“There have been a lot of problems with droughts and flooding recently. This summer has been one of the wettest ever, and last winter was one of the driest winters ever.

“We have noticed a gap in research on the water cycle, and wanted to have the opportunity to use the satellite data to monitor climate effects – not just here in Leicester but everywhere in the world.”

Conor McGlone

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