Ben Smith

‌‌Ben Smith -


PhD Title:

Modelling Flooding from Multiple Sources using Coupled Models and Multi-Scale High-Resolution Datasets


PhD Project Details:

Flood risk from multiple sources is greater than that from either groundwater or surface water alone, it is therefore appropriate to model both sources combined.


I intend to use a new High-Performance Integrated hydrodynamic Modelling System (HiPIMS) (Liang and Smith, 2015) to simulate the catchment surface flooding processes following intense rainfall. HiPIMS will take the inputs from a new high-resolution rainfall dataset for the UK and re-analysis driven outputs from the climate model developed by Kendon et al. (2012; 2014).  This computationally efficient hydrodynamic model will transform intense rainfall into surface runoff flooding in small to medium size catchments in the UK.  However, similar to most other hydrodynamic surface flow models, HiPIMS has limited capability in representing infiltration and subsurface flow, an important aspect of the rainfall-runoff processes.  


Therefore, HiPIMS will be improved to include a groundwater component to better represent infiltration and subsurface flow processes.  To achieve this, the groundwater module from the hydrologic model system, Shetran, developed within the Newcastle Water Group will be used, together with a newly-developed capability to use 3D digital geological models for representation of hydrogeological environments.  The Shetran groundwater component will be adapted and improved for coupling with HiPIMS to develop a new surface and subsurface hydrodynamic catchment model which will represent the current state-of-the-art in modelling catchment rainfall-runoff processes and hence provide a new generation tool for evaluate the risk of flooding from multiple sources in catchments.  These modelling components are essential to better understand catchment responses to intense rainfall and quantify the future risk and impacts of flooding from multiple sources in the UK.



Kendon EJ, Roberts NM, Senior CA, Roberts MJ (2012) ‘Realism of Rainfall in a Very High-Resolution Regional Climate Model’, J Climate, 25:5791–5806. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00562.1


Kendon, E. J. et al. (2014) ‘Heavier Summer Downpours with Climate Change Revealed by Weather Forecast Resolution Model’, Nature Climate Change, 4, 570–576.


Liang, Q., Smith, L. (2015) ‘A High-Performance Integrated Hydrodynamic Modelling System for Urban Flood Simulations’.



Dr Geoff Parkin

Professor Qiuhua Liang

Professor Hayley Fowler