FREE - Round 1 - Quantifying Flood Risk of Extreme Events using Density Forecasts Based on a New Digital Archive and Weather Ensemble Predictions Project
Floods in the UK are often caused by heavy rainfall lasting from minutes to weeks. Efficient management and mitigation of flood risk, especially surface water flooding in urban areas, requires accurate and reliable precipitation forecasts as inputs to flood risk models. Houses in flat areas are particularly at risk and meeting the shortage of houses in the south-east requires building on these areas. To estimate the flood hazard risk in order to try to protect these buildings, accurate rainfall predictions are needed. However, the connection between record rainfall and flooding is highly nonlinear, so that rainfall predictions must also say how likely rainfall is at any time - calculating the probability of rainfall.
Extreme rainfalls caused devastating floods in Boscastle in 2004 and Lynmouth in 1952, but the causes and pattern of rainfall was different. Therefore, scientists also need to know what pattern of rainfall caused the flooding.
This research aims to get good quality predictions of the probability of rainfall by combining advanced methods from statistics, the output from a new supercomputer model of the weather, and a new computer archive of exteme rainfalls going back to 1866 (and up to 1968), provided by a specialist company Hydro-GIS Ltd. It also aims to produce an automatic system for discovering the most likely pattern in the predicted rainfalls. The new prediction system and data will be freely available over the internet for use by the government and universities.
Project duration: January 2007 - December 2008
This project is funded by NERC - Grant Ref. NE/E002013/1 - through the Flood Risk for Etreme Events (FREE) NERC directed mode programme.
Availability of data
This project combines advanced statistical methods, output from a meteorological model and historical observations to produce predictions of the probability of rainfall. From a data view point a collection of rainfall depth maxima data, dating back to 1860, plus associated description documents and rainfall maps of extreme events across the UK, have been used. All of these products have been digitised from the paper version of the British Rainfall publication, and are now archived at the BADC to enable easy access for future use and the wider community.
Access to data and information
Data and metadata from this project are stored in the BADC
FREE Quantifying Flood Risk of Extreme Events project archive.
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If you have publications arising from FREE research please send details [title, author(s), reference] to the
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- Dr. Harvey J. E. Rodda, Dr. Rose G. Wood and Dr. Nina MacDougall. An Overview of Extreme Rainfall Events from the British Rainfall Archive 1866-1968 - Presentation by Hydro-GIS Ltd at "The use of historical data for Rainfall and Flood forecasting" Conference, University of Oxford, 8th January 2008.
The use of historical data for Rainfall and Flood forecasting Conference - University of Oxford - 8th January 2008.
- W.H. Hand, N.I. Fox, C.G. Collier (2004), A study of twentieth-century extreme rainfall events in the United Kingdom with implications for forecasting. Meteorological Applications, 11(1), 15-31. DOI:10.1017/S1350482703001117
- R. Buizza, T. Petroliagis, T. Palmer, J. Barkmeijer, M. Hamrud, A. Hollingsworth, A. Simmons, N. Wedi (1998), Impact of model resolution and ensemble size on the performance of an Ensemble Prediction System. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 124(550), 1935-1960. DOI: 10.1002/qj.49712455008
- P.C. Young (2002), Advances in real-time flood forecasting. Phil Trans R Soc Lond A, 360, 1433-1450. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2002.1008
- Little M. A., Rodda H.J.E, McSharry P.E (2008), Bayesian Objective Classification of Extreme UK Daily Rainfall for Flood Risk Applications, Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences Discussion, 5, 3033-3060. DOI: 10.5194/hessd-5-3033-2008
- Rodda, H.J.E, Little, M.A, Wood, R.G, MacDougall, N. and McSharry, P.E (2009), A digital archive of extreme rainfalls in the British Isles from 1866 to 1968 based on British Rainfall, Weather, 64(3), 71-75. DOI: 10.1002/wea.354
Natural Environment Research Council, [McSharry, P. et. al] . FREE - Quantifying Flood Risk of Extreme Events using Density Forecasts Based on a New Digital Archive and Weather Ensemble Predictions, [Internet]. British Atmospheric Data Centre, 2008-, Date of citation. Available from http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/data/free/quantifying.html
Who to contact
This FREE project is headed by Dr Patrick McSharry of the University of Oxford, with co-investigators at the University of Oxford.
The project data contact is Dr Max Little, University of Oxford and Dr Harvey Rhodda, Hydro-GIS Ltd.
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