Tag Archives: science outreach

Flash Flood! from @seriousgeogames

As I have a brief hiatus whilst I wait for ArcMap to select a few million Lidar points, I thought I would share a post from the SeriousGeoGames blog. It’s all about the new application I’m developing with BetaJester Ltd.

“Flash Flood! Our new project with @BetaJesterLtd #MadewithUnity

We are pleased to announce that we have started working with developers from BetaJester on our latest project, Flash Flood!

Flash Flood! is being produced as part of the Flash Flooding from Intense Rainfall (FFIR) research programme, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and is designed to highlight the destructive power of flash floods. This work has taken particular significance in light of the recent flooding in the UK over December.”

Read the full post, here.


Cumbria Flooding 2015 – @geophemera Press Release

It is with great shock that we are witnessing the third period of intense flooding in the North-West of England in the past decade. The rains brought by Storm Desmond have been record breaking, and simply too great for most flood alleviation schemes to fully hold back.

The flooding has also brought vast quantities of sediment and debris with it, and has destroyed bridges, roads and other important infrastructure. The changes floods cause to rivers, valleys and the flood plain are often overlooked in reporting, but can have very long lasting influence.

In response to this, myself and Lynda Yorke wrote a press release for the British Society for Geomorphology

“Flooding and Geomorphology – Dr Chris Skinner (University of Hull)  and Dr Lynda Yorke (University of Bangor) on behalf of the British Society for Geomorphology

The past weekend has seen record breaking levels of rainfall fall upon the North-West of England. Storm Desmond, as named by the MetOffice’s ‘Name our Storms’ pilot project (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/uk-storm-centre), has brought with it scenes of devastation as flood defences overtop and water spilled into people’s houses….”

You can read the full release here.

For more detail on the flooding and why the defences could not hold back all of the water, these BBC articles contains some superb analysis –

How do you stop flooding?

Storm Desmond: Defences against indefencicble floods

Weird Parameters, Weird Model.

I’m currently in the middle of testing random parameter sets in the CAESAR-Lisflood model – this is to try and recreate the 2007 flash flood in Thinhope Burn, the geomorphic change during it and since. I’m using a nested approach, trying 1000 sets of parameters on the whole catchment, those which seems to work I will take and apply to a higher resolution reach scale simulation.

As the video below shows, appearances can be deceiving!

I should point out that the digital elevation model (DEM) I’m using here is a bit rough (to put it diplomatically). There is no in-channel lateral erosion rate in this parameter set, so channel movements are due to lateral erosion by the model. Stills are taken every ten days of the simulation.

Despite it’s obvious weak points, the behaviour of the river very clearly alters after the flooding which is what I am trying to reproduce.IMAG0197Thinhope Burn in 2014.

The “in the Boxes” at @FreedomFestHull via @SeriousGeoGames

I’m very excited to let you know that Humber in a Box and River in a Box will both be part of the University’s Science Corner, part of Hull’s Freedom Festival 2015*.

Humber in a Box

This year, the University of Hull will have a Science Corner in Queen’s Gardens on the 5th and 6th of September, from 12 til 6 – it is free. As well as in the Boxes, their will be plenty more including Lab on a Chip and Angry Birds Physics, as well as the ever popular Battle of the Slime. More details here.

Hope to see you there!

*The Freedom Festival began as part of the 2007 celebrations to commemorate Hull born William Wilberforce. Wilberforce was instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade by the UK through his work as an MP, first with the passing of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 and with the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, shortly before his death.

Busy last few weeks! @FCERMnet, Cheltenham Science Festival (with @Geophemera) and CiG Workshop

Phew, the last few weeks have been very busy and I’m looking forward to a week’s holiday in Prague next week.

At the end of May I headed up to Edinburgh for the Flood and Coastal Erosion Management Network (FCERM.net) Annual Assembly. I took a poster detailing the work on Dynamic Humber and a demo for Humber in a Box using Google Cardboard. I even won one of the three poster prizes on offer which was very nice. You can read more about here on the NERC-FFIR blog.

The beast in the middle of this busy period was Cheltenham Science Festival. This was an amazing experience and lots and lots of fun. I took the full version of Humber in a Box down with me, and along with River in a Box, it made up the stand for the British Society for Geomorphology. From Wednesday to Sunday the team made up of colleagues from Hull, Gloucester, Manchester, Exeter, Loughborough and Cardiff were there, and we must have had several hundred members of the public try the Oculus and flood the Humber. I think it was great success.

Cardboard_head1 11255325_10154466340851959_6362719615053286374_n

I spent much of my time walking around the site wearing a Google Cardboard (you can see via your phone camera, but you lose all depth perception!), handing out fliers and directing people to our stall.

11391495_10154466343016959_4728969460018087825_n 1470096_10154466340051959_700456409307758744_n

Our stall was small and most the space was taken up by River in a Box – I occasionally had queues of people waiting for a go on Humber in a Box. We spent the week next door to a DeLorean, which played the music from Back to the Future. On loop. Ten hours a day. For six days. Above is picture of Gia Milinovich and Brian Cox sat in it. Don’t think Steve charged them a fiver for this pic.

11389996_10154466341096959_776247968209097410_n 10615413_10154466342321959_8463153748193859267_n

There were plenty of sights to see. At the weekend, opposite us was this killer whale, with the option to take a #whalefie – I’m pretty sure it isn’t actually a whale? Did they do this on porpoise? There was also this dino skeleton – it had had a hard life with a bony tumor in its brain which may be why it had so many injuries on it. Still, it looked happier now.

This baby T-Rex was in better shape, even attacking the DeLorean. Maybe it appreciated the music as much as we did.

After Cheltenham I headed to Switzerland and ETH Zurich. I had been invited, as a guest of Tom Coulthard, to a workshop on Complexity in Geomorphology. Organised by Peter Molnar, this was an excellent workshop, I learned an awful lot and made some very useful connections. I also got to present alongside outstanding experts in the field such as Chris Paola and Doug Jerolmack.


Zurich is beautiful city, above is the view from the roof terrace of the building the workshop was in, and I hope I get the chance to visit again and for a bit longer.

I’ve been back a week and cramming lots of modelling in before my holiday – but I did get chance to say hello to #ducksatGees, who have grown loads whilst I have been away!