The winter 2015/2016 floods in the UK: a hydrological appraisal

Barker, Lucy ORCID:; Hannaford, Jamie ORCID:; Muchan, Katie; Turner, Stephen ORCID:; Parry, Simon. 2016 The winter 2015/2016 floods in the UK: a hydrological appraisal. [Poster] In: 4th BHS International Conference, Cranfield University, 30 Aug - 1 Sept 2016. (Unpublished)

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The winter 2015/2016 saw one of the most severe and extensive periods of flooding in the UK, leading to much debate around flood risk management in a warming world. After such devastating floods, it is important to quantify the severity of the rainfall and river flows and to place them in a historical context to inform dialogue on future flood risk management strategies. This poster offers perspective from the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme, continuing a long history of documenting major flood and drought events in the UK. The exceptionally wet weather began in November and lasted into January, leading to severe and extensive flooding, focused in northern and western areas. Throughout this period, a number of rainfall and temperature records were surpassed, and previous maximum river flows exceeded in a large number of catchments. December was the wettest calendar month on record for the UK (in a series from 1910) and delivered new 24-hour and 48-hour rainfall totals. Much of the northern Britain and Northern Ireland saw double the average December rainfall, whilst some areas saw up to three times the average. Remarkable peak river flow records were set during storm ‘Desmond’; more than 1700 cumecs were recorded on the Eden, Lune & Tyne - the highest gauged river flows, outside Scotland, based on UK National River Flow Archive records. Wet weather continued into January, with more peak river flow records set in Scotland (e.g. on the Dee and Don). Impacts were severe: flooded homes and businesses, damaged bridges, canals and railways, and extensive agricultural impacts. The severity of the winter 2015/2016 flooding, alongside other episodes in the recent past, further underlines our continued vulnerability to flooding and highlights an ongoing need to identify the most appropriate flood risk management strategies to reduce impacts of flooding on people and infrastructure.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Poster)
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Rees (from October 2014)
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 02 Sep 2016 15:38 +0 (UTC)

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