In a warming world, climate extremes are expected to become more frequent and intense. In the UK, projections generally suggest increases in rainfall, but with increasing seasonal and inter-annual variability, and increases in evaporation leading to drier summers and lower summer river flows.

Together, these factors imply an increase in drought severity against a backdrop of parallel increases in flood risk, leading to greater impacts on the economy and population. The vulnerability of the UK to drought episodes has been underlined through several major recent drought events (e.g. 2010-2012; 2017-2019).

The UK’s weather is naturally highly variable and droughts can co-exist with floods, as experienced dramatically in the UK in 2012 and 2019. This presents significant challenges for communicating drought status and risk.

One of the common goals of policy-makers and regulators such as Defra, the Environment Agency, Welsh Government and Natural Resource Wales is to increase national and local resilience to hazards. Assessing, preparing for and responding to drought is a key foundation of this and requires:

  • Recognition of the complexity of drought processes in socio-ecological systems;
  • Recognition of diverse contexts, needs and composition of stakeholder groups at risk;
  • Understanding the limitations of current approaches to drought communication; and
  • Provision of meaningful communication strategies.


The objectives of the RADAR project are therefore to:

  1. Review current approaches to communicating drought risk and status
  2. Co-develop alternative approaches
  3. Test the appropriateness of different drought communication approaches and identify the most promising
  4. Summarise and disseminate key findings

The project seeks to achieve these objectives via four work packages:


RADAR project work package diagram

N.B. WP0 is a Project Management work package.

Project Partners:


UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology



Open University

Project Staff:

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Open University

Steering Committee:

The project is overseen by a steering committee comprising individuals from: