Computational Modelling Group

Simulating Hydro-geomorphic Changes in European Climate Hotspots

1st October 2009
1st December 2012
Research Team
Ying Wang
John Dearing

Model result of erosion

In recent years, rising water levels, floods, landslides and erosion following heavy precipitation have occurred with increasing frequency in many European countries. There is growing institutional and governmental concern about how rivers have responded or are expected to respond to deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, or climate change; how rivers can be stabilized and maintained; and how to develop appropriate policies in response to those changes. Therefore, simulating the behaviour of hydro-geomorphological processes in a fluvial system over decadal timescales is an important basis for research on catchment environmental management, especially with regards climate changes and human impacts on fluvial system.

This project addresses these problems by using a ‘bottom-up’ process based model of intermediate complexity operating over fine spatial and temporal scales that drive, nonlinearly, the creation of emergent forms and transgression of thresholds. The cellular landscape evolution model CAESAR provides an excellent tool for simulating fluvial process as flooding, sediment transport and soil erosion in lake-catchment system. At the selected site in climate hotspots across Europe, CAESAR will be driven over the last couple of centuries based on local climate data, regional topography (DEM) and land use records. Model outputs will be validated against field observations and proxy/ instrument records over the same timescale and run forwards into the future using regional projections and hypothetical land use scenarios. Finally, the intention is that the model projections will increase the certainly of projected impacts of rapid climate change and create alternative scenarios for the design of local landscape management plans.


Physical Systems and Engineering simulation: Climate, Earth surface dynamics

Socio-technological System simulation: Human environment interaction

Algorithms and computational methods: Cellular automata

Simulation software: CAESAR

Visualisation and data handling software: ArcGIS

Programming languages and libraries: C

Computational platforms: Windows