Climate & High Impact Weather
High impact Weather events such as storms, heatwaves and cold spells can result in substantial socio-economic impacts on water resources, infrastructure, agriculture and public health
To mitigate the risks of High Impact Weather, society needs improved early warnings, risk assessments and further knowledge on the impact of climate change.
Our priority is to understand the processes behind different types of high-impact weather events.
The intense storms (such as thunderstorms) that tend to occur in summer in the UK are examples of convective storms. Convective storms can produce flash flooding, damaging winds, hail and lightning. Our research is trying to find out what processes control the formation of convective storms and how patterns of intense convective rainfall will change in future climates.
Scientists use observational data collected from field campaigns, from weather radars and the FAAM aircraft in conjunction with numerical computer models to answer these questions.
Cyclonic storms such as North Atlantic Cyclones and Tropical Cyclones are storms systems that can produce extreme winds, heavy rainfall and coastal flooding. Our research looks at how cyclonic storms form, how they might be affected by climate change, and how they have varied in the past.
We use computer weather and climate models, alongside data collected from global field campaigns, to find out more about these storms.
Cold spells, heatwaves, and droughts
Cold spells, heatwaves, and droughts are examples of persistent high-impact weather events. These high impact weather events are caused by circulation patterns such as anticyclonic blocking. We are investigating how these events develop, how we can predict them, and how climate change will affect these events.
Our research addresses these questions by combining our computer modelling capabilities, our long-term measurement of the atmosphere, and new methods of analysis to characterise different atmospheric properties.
Large-scale modes of variability
Large-scale modes of variability are patterns in our climate, like the North Atlantic Oscillation or the El Nino Southern Oscillation. They are one of the main drivers behind high-impact weather events, and hold clues as to how we might be able to predict weather events on longer timescales.
By finding out more about modes of variability, such as determining their characteristics and how they influence weather events, researchers hope to improve our ability to make seasonal forecasts of high-impact weather.