UKCEH researchers will be taking part in the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union next week (EGU23). This year’s event takes place in-person at the Austria Center Vienna, as well as online. Read on for more details about the science we’re presenting...

Reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of geosciences, we have specialists in data science, water resources, hydro-climate risks, and atmospheric chemistry and effects all taking part in this year’s EGU conference. While they hail from different teams, they are all presenting work that helps to address the key challenge of alleviating and building resilience to climate and environmental change, both nationally and internationally. 

This year our talks and posters highlight recent work to advance earth system models, inform long-term water resource strategies and early warning systems, improve weather predictions, design and implement monitoring infrastructures, and showcase innovations in riverflow measurement. We list these below, along with some collaborative research presented by partners.

Monday 24 April

Oral presentations

Bethan Harris (UKCEH): Contrasting responses of vegetation to intraseasonal rainfall in Earth System Models (BG3.14)

  • Vegetation productivity indicates the spatial distribution and change of vegetation cover. We show that different Earth System Models produce very different vegetation productivity responses to rainfall events of approximately one-month duration, even though their simulated responses in surface soil moisture are similar to one another.

    This talk is part of a session on advances in understanding water - carbon dynamics and their feedbacks with our climate system.

Poster presentations

Rebecca Oliver (UKCEH): The future of forests: thermal acclimation in the JULES land surface model (BG3.5)

  • A key driver of the terrestrial carbon sink is photosynthesis. Accurate representation of this process in Earth System models is important to help understand and quantify the resilience of the global carbon sink to future climate change. We describe implementation of thermal adaptation and acclimation of photosynthesis in JULES, the land surface component of the UK Earth System Model.

    This virtual poster is part of the session on forest responses to global change.

Wilson Chan (University of Reading): Large ensemble simulations for water resources planning (HS2.4.6)

  • How can storyline approaches complement existing hydrological forecasting methods? Taking the 2022 drought as a case study, this work explores event-based storylines of how the drought could unfold over winter 2022/23 and beyond using a hindcast dataset consisting of more than 2800 physically plausible winters since 1982.

    This poster is part of the session on approaches and management perspectives to address flood protection and drought reduction.

Tuesday 25 April

Oral presentations

Natasha Harris (University of Surrey/BGS/UKCEH): Shedding light on the organic matter black box - using fluorescence spectroscopy to understanding microbial sources and pathways TLF (HS2.3.1)

  • UKCEH's Thames Initiative collects a wide range of chemical and biological data at 19 sites across the Upper Thames Catchment and its tributaries. This research focuses on the role of TLF, a component of fluorescent organic matter which is linked to sewerage pollution and, more widely, human activity. Our work enables greater understanding of TLF’s sources and pathways by analysing its interaction with other nutrients and pollutants.

    This talk is part of a session on water quality at the catchment scale: measuring and modelling of nutrients, sediment and eutrophication impacts.

Mhairi Coyle (UKCEH/James Hutton Institute): UK Greenhouse Gas Flux Network - Peatlands (BG8.3)

  • Peatlands occupy 12% of the UK territory and can store large amounts of carbon. However, drainage, peat extraction, and other management activities have turned these ecosystems into greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters. We share an overview of the UK GHG Flux Network, which measures greenhouse gas emissions at 30 peatland sites of different land-use types and conditions across the UK.

    This talk is part of a session on benefits to science and society from long-term flux observation and ecosystem research networks.

Poster presentations

Chris Huntingford (UKCEH): Acceleration of daily land temperature extremes and link to land forcing (CL4.11)

  • We analyse a large number of Earth System Models and find that there is some evidence that the temperatures of extreme events are rising faster than local background rises in mean summer temperatures.

    This virtual poster is part of the session on modelling and observational constraints for earth system feedbacks and tipping points.

Maliko Tanguy (UKCEH): How will climate change affect spatial coherence of streamflow and groundwater droughts in Great Britain? (NH1.2)

  • How climate change will affect the spatial coherence of droughts (how widespread they might be) is a key question for water managers to answer when developing strategies, such as water transfer between regions, to mitigate impacts on water resources. Using the enhanced Future Flows and Groundwater (eFLaG) dataset, we present a flexible methodology to explore expected changes in drought spatial coherence in Great Britain. The results can inform long-term water resources strategies.

    This poster is part of the session on extreme meteorological and hydrological events induced by severe weather and climate change.

Wednesday 26 April

Oral presentations

Imke Grefe (Lancaster University): Nitrate retention and subsidy in oligotrophic mountain stream-lake networks (BG4.3)

  • With human activity rapidly accelerating the global nitrogen cycle, aquatic environments are facing increasing eutrophication (nutrient enrichment) and ecosystem damage. We present evidence for the nitrogen enrichment of upland lakes as a result of atmospheric deposition and local catchment effects. Data were collected as part of the NERC highlight topic 'Hydroscape'.

    This talk is part of the session on aquatic biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, from measurements to understanding hydrochemical processes.

Elizabeth Cooper (UKCEH): Clustering grid cells in a land surface model (HS3.4)

  • Land surface models such as JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator) are usually run on a rectilinear grid, producing gridded outputs for variables such as soil moisture and evapotranspiration. Here we investigate the effect of clustering groups of grid cells into ‘Land Response Units’ (LRUs), based on landscape features including soil type, elevation and land cover. Using LRUs rather than grid cells has the potential to reduce computational expense.

    This talk is part of a session on advanced geostatistics, clustering and classification for water, earth and environmental sciences.

Gemma Coxon (University of Bristol): Lessons learned from catchment observatory and network design in the UK, rest of Europe and North America (HS1.2.2)

  • A review of hydrological research observatories has shown how monitoring infrastructures should be designed and built in future. Detailed scoping and design, community engagement, and incorporation of digital infrastructures to support FAIR access to data are essential.

    This talk is part of the session on advances in river monitoring and modelling for a climate emergency convened by UKCEH's Nick Everard.

Maliko Tanguy (UKCEH): Understanding drought indicator-to-impact relationships to improve drought monitoring and early warning - Thailand as a case study (HS4.2)

  • Thailand is experiencing an increase in severity and duration of its droughts as a consequence of the changing climate. Developing a reliable drought monitoring and early warning system is an integral part of strengthening a country’s resilience to droughts. However, for a system to be useful for stakeholders, the indicators it monitors should be translatable to potential drought impacts on the ground and, ideally, inform mitigating actions. Our study shows that drought indicator-to-impact relationship varies in time and space in Thailand. This knowledge can help improve drought monitoring and early warning systems.

    This talk is part of a session on monitoring, modelling and forecasting to improve drought risk management.

Poster presentation

Matt Fry (UKCEH): Design of a digital infrastructure for hydrological research (ESSI2.5)

  • A Flood and Drought Research Infrastructure (FDRI) will facilitate the hydrological science and innovation needed to underpin the UK’s adaptation and resilience to floods and droughts. A scoping study identified the importance of a digital infrastructure to complement access to physical monitoring across a range of catchment types. We will transform the way hydrological research is undertaken through provision of a FDRI digital research infrastructure which opens up access to data using modern cloud-based technologies and supports research monitoring.

    This poster is part of the session on research data infrastructures in earth system sciences facing user needs.

Thursday 27 April

Oral presentations

Christopher Taylor (UKCEH): Global observations highlight regions where vegetation can enhance S2S predictability (CL4.1)

  • The land surface is a key source of predictability for forecasts at the subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S; 2 weeks to 2 months) timescale, since variables such as root zone soil moisture and leaf area vary more slowly than the atmospheric state. We identify where and when knowledge of vegetation state can improve weather predictions out to one month.

    This talk is part of the session on land-atmosphere interactions and climate extremes.

Poster presentations

Andrew Kingdon (British Geological Survey): An Information Management Framework for Environmental Digital Twins (IMFe) as a concept and pilot (ESSI1.5)

  • An approach to the management of data and information within Digital Twin projects has been developed, and a pilot digital twin for a Marine area is being developed to demonstrate how this approach can effectively support digital twinning. Agreeing standards is important to allow digital twins to be made interoperable.

    This poster is part of the session on digital twins of the earth.

Nick Everard (UKCEH): The FluViSat project - Measuring streamflow from space with very high resolution Planet satellite video (HS6.3)

  • The FluViSat (Fluvial Video from Satellite) project has successfully demonstrated the potential of very high resolution satellite imagery for determining water flow speeds, and hence streamflow rates. Benefits of this include the ability to observe water flow rates almost anywhere on the planet, the potential for multiple daily repeat observations and reducing the need for locally based people, equipment and infrastructure. We present results from the research, explain the methods employed to derive and validate flow speeds, and explore opportunities to further enhance the FluViSat methodology.

    This poster is part of the session on remote sensing for flood dynamics monitoring and flood mapping co-convened by UKCEH's Nick Everard.

Friday 28 April

Oral presentation

Joshua Talib (UKCEH): MJO-induced land-atmosphere feedbacks across East Africa (AS1.3)

  • Across East Africa, sub-seasonal rainfall variability predominantly depends on the phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), an eastward moving atmospheric wave. We quantify surface-driven sub-seasonal predictability across East Africa.

    This talk is part of a session on subseasonal to seasonal prediction, processes and impacts.

Poster presentation

Pablo Espina Martin (UKCEH and IMT Nord Europe): Atmospheric ammonia in-situ long-term monitoring: review worldwide strategies and recommendations for implementation (GI1.3)

  • Ammonia (NH3) plays an important role in nitrogen deposition processes, responsible for several damaging effects on ecosystems, and it is also a precursor of fine particulate matter, known to cause numerous impacts on human health. Despite this, not many countries have implemented long-term monitoring of NH3 in their air quality programme. We review the world's current long-term ammonia networks and provide insights and recommendations for others looking to do the same. 

    This poster is part of the session on monitoring networks.

Good luck to all the presenters! You can follow updates from the conference via #EGU23.

Additional information

The EGU General Assembly attracts more than 16,000 scientists from around the world from earth, planetary and space science disciplines. As well as research updates shared via oral and poster presentations it’s also an opportunity for networking, support and outreach. The meeting will feature activities, short courses and workshops for early career researchers, discussions on big environmental issues and medal lectures.