Professional summary

Christel is a UKCEH Fellow and a visiting Professor at Loughborough University specialising in Hydro-climatology.  She led a small team at CEH dedicated to study, understand and model the development in time and space of water deficits across spatial scales (from local to global), to assess their associated uncertainty and to quantifying the impact of climate variability and change on the hydrological processes and how in turn this impacts on the environment. She coordinated CEH research on droughts and supervised a number of PhD Students.

She was PI of the Copernicus-funded project EDgE 'End-to-end Demonstrator for Improved decision making in the water sector for Europe' (1.6mE) which will develop a prototype tool box to deliver seasonal forecasts and climate change projections to the water sector. EDgE involved 6 other international organisations: the Environment Agency of England, The Helmhotlz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ (Germany), the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (Norway), Cetaqua (Spain), the Mediterranean Network of Basin Organisations MENBO (Spain) and the Climate Partnership Ltd (USA). 

She is CEH PI of the NERC-funded IMPETUS (grant number NE/L010267/1) aiming to improve the forecasting of UK droughts on monthly to decadal timescales, and in doing so to help the development of improved decision-making processes. In partnership with Met Office, BGS, WHS and EA, Christel is leading CEH input to provide monthly probabilistic outlooks of river flow and groundwater levels across England and Wales based on an Ensemble Streamflow Prediction system. The results are now operationally included in the EA monthly Water Situation Reports and also contribute to the Hydrological Outlook. She coordinates work on the Thames basin for the EU-FP7 MARS project, which aims to quantify how river flows, groundwater levels, water chemistry and biology respond to drivers such as droughts, eutrophication and water management.

She has managed the ‘Future Flows and Groundwater Levels’ partnership project which delivered an ensemble of national 148-year daily river flow and monthly groundwater levels for 281 river catchments and 24 boreholes made available to the research community to investigate the role of climate variability on river flow and groundwater levels nationally and how this may change in the future.

She has also led  the UKCEH contribution to the EU-FP7 WATCH Work Block 4 (hydrological extremes) where CEH delivered objective European Drought and High flow catalogues, now benchmarks to study hydrological extremes at continental scale. She has also led research into developing new ways to assess the ability of Global Impact Models to reproduce hydrological extremes at a regional (sub-national) level. The work has continued through the ISI-MIP project phase 1, where she leads the assessment of future drought risk globally and its associated uncertainty, published in PNAS.

In the last 20 years, Christel has focused her research on improving methodologies for assessing the impact of climate change on river flows. She has also developed an interest for seasonal forecasting. Most of her research has been commissioned by government agencies such as the Environment Agency or Defra and has contributed to changes in water management or policy.