Alexandra Seawell


PhD title: Improving flood risk assessment in flashy catchments under a changing climate

 Supervisors: Professor Hayley Fowler and Dr. Stephen Blenkinsop, Newcastle University

My PhD investigates rainfall profile shape and how this might be affected by climate change, based on both observed data and convection permitting model simulation results. Rainfall profile shapes will be further investigated in respect to their effect on flood hydrographs through hydrological and hydraulic modelling, specifically focussing on a sample of small, flashy catchments since these are most responsive to rainfall events, especially short, intense rainfall which is likely to be highly affected by climate change. If time allows, I hope to undertake further modelling reflecting natural flood management interventions to try to assess how best to adapt catchments for the effects of climate change. The aim of this PhD is to help update current understanding of flood risk and potentially inform application of appropriate design storms for future flood management projects.

Before starting my PhD, I worked for Jacobs (formerly CH2M Hill and Halcrow) as part of the flood risk modelling team. Principally my role focussed on hydrological analysis, particularly using Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH) methods. I have undertaken hydraulic modelling work, including fluvial, estuarine and water quality models using Flood Modeller (formerly ISIS) and TUFLOW software. Over the years I have worked on a number of flood risk assessments for developers, strategic flood risk assessments for local authorities, catchment flood mapping projects and hydrology audits on behalf of the Environment Agency and SEPA.