Research Projects

3D Hydrogeological Modelling for Flood Risk Assessment

(Including Geovisionary video -

 This area of research aims to develop new understanding and tools for assessing flood risk from groundwater sources, working in close collaboration with British Geological Survey (BGS), the Environment Agency (EA), and Newcastle City Council.

The overall methodology involves coupling of the SHETRAN integrated groundwater – surface water catchment modelling system ( developed at Newcastle University with 3D geological models developed by BGS, using information from EA regional groundwater models as boundary conditions, and investigating methods of coupling with high resolution surface hydrodynamic flood models. This will enable better representation of the complex shallow groundwater flows that are important for groundwater flooding, improving model confidence in critical areas.

We have used 3D digital geological models developed by BGS at the national scale, and for local areas, in particular Chalk catchments which have high levels of susceptibility to groundwater flooding. We have also built the first 3D digital geological model of Newcastle, including a high-resolution model of the university campus area. These models show features such as the in-filled valleys associated with the 'hidden rivers' of Newcastle, the original watercourses which now run underground in culverts (e.g. the Pandon Burn which runs beneath the university campus). We are using these representations of the geology to build integrated groundwater-surface water models to work towards understanding and quantifying flooding from multiple sources.

In order to better understand and demonstrate the inter-relationships between complex geological features and surface topography, we will use Geovisionary software, which can integrate datasets across a wide range of scales. Click on the video link above to view a preliminary visualisation which takes the viewer from the national geological model down to the scale of Newcastle and the university campus.  


(top: Overall methodology for groundwater flood modelling; bottom: High-resolution3D digital model of Newcastle University campus)


CONVEX - Using Observational Evidence and Process Understanding to Improve Predictions of Extreme Rainfall Change


IMPETUS - Improving Predictions of Drought for User Decision-Making


INTENSE - INTElligent use of climate models for adaptatioN to non-Stationary hydrological Extremes


Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development


Proactive Catchment Management


RAMSES - Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities


SHETRAN - A physically-based spatially-distributed hydrological model


SINATRA - Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding