Fluvial geomorphology and flood risk management

Oxford Water Network seminar with Dr Louise Slater, Lecturer in Physical Geography, Loughborough University.

16 November 2017, 5pm (Thursday, 6th week, Michaelmas 2017)
Sir Michael Dummett (formerly Blue Boar) Lecture Theatre, Christ Church

Freshwater flooding is expected to become increasingly common as climate change intensifies the hydrological cycle, affecting the lives millions of people living in flood-prone areas across the world.

However, such increases in flood magnitude and frequency are not purely climate-related. Widespread human disturbance alters fluvial networks and the capacity of river channels to contain flood flows.

In this talk, Dr Louise Slater will demonstrate that flood risk can only be fully understood by taking both hydrologic and geomorphic changes into account. Using historic data, we have quantified the influence of changing river channel capacity on flood hazards in hundreds of rivers across the USA and UK. Focussing on a few key locations, she will show that these changes in river channels can be caused by a variety of management decisions and land use changes upstream.

These analyses reveal that geomorphic changes are widespread, can occur rapidly, and have a measurable effect on flood hazards.

About the speaker

Dr Louise Slater is a Lecturer in Physical geography at Loughborough University. Her research focuses on understanding and predicting changes in floods and fluvial systems in the context of contemporary shifts in climate, agricultural practices and urbanisation.

Using statistical and computational tools, Louise’s research aims to disentangle the different drivers of flooding and fluvial change across a variety of climates and land use types. She uses changes in land cover and climate to develop probabilistic streamflow forecasts over a range of timescales, to assess how fluvial systems may change over time.

Louise has a keen interest in data science and in developing new, interdisciplinary methods for understanding and projecting fluvial and hydro-climatic change.

This seminar in part of the Oxford Water Network’s ‘hydroclimatic extremes’ series.