Overview

Climate over eastern Asia is mainly characterized by the East-Asian summer monsoon (EASM), the related formation of the quasi-stationary Changma-Baiu-Meiyu frontal system, and the occurrence of tropical cyclones (TCs). Possible changes of the EASM and the occurrence of extreme tropical cyclones under enhanced greenhouse gas concentrations could have high impact on society and economy of one of the most densely populated regions of the globe.

Regional decision processes for the development of suitable adaptation strategies or the timely initiation of related mitigation efforts in East Asia will strongly depend on robust and comprehensive information about future near-term as well as long-term potential changes in the climate system. Based on physical process understanding, it is important to quantify the regional effects of global or hemispheric scale phenomena for both, the scientific community to understand potential changes and the impact community (incl. decision makers) to act proactively in the most suitable manner. The three most important aspects in this context are the provision of a) relevant, timely, and b) comprehensive information about potential changes as well as c) information about the quality of the confidence in the information.

FUCHA-TC is aimed at analysing and assessing economic losses caused by TCs in the East Asian region. Additionally different adaptation measures damping future losses should be compared. The main goals are to I) establish a relationship between observed TCs and observed economic losses triggered by them, in order to ii) predict possible future changes in frequency and intensity, thereby estimating a change in damage for the climate predictions and eventually to iii) decide which adaptation strategies are suitable for the East Asian region given the future changes of TCs.

This study will be embedded in the project FOREX (Fostering Regional Decision Making by the Assessment of Uncertainties of Future Regional Extremes and their Linkage to Global Climate System Variability for China and East Asia), which is part of the Met Office CSSP China project funded by the Newton fund. FOREX aims to analyse changes of local and regional extreme events (TCs, EASM) under changed future climate conditions using a huge amount of different climate projection datasets (CMIP3, CMIP5, Perturbed-physic ensembles) with a strong focus on climate change signals on longer time-scales.

Methodology

FUCHA-TC consists of three work-packages (WP):

WP1: Establishing a relationship between observed TCs and observed economic losses caused by them. This is done by developing a statistical model which is trained on real economic loss data.

WP2: This WP aims to assess changes in frequency and intensity of TCs under changed greenhouse gas concentrations for a range of CMIP5 models featuring different emission scenarios (RCP4.5, RCP8.5)

WP3: The estimated changes in TCs for future scenarios will then be translated into potential future economic losses by the estimated relation (“damage function”) developed in WP1 using a simple opensource CAT model. The CAT model also provides the possibility to simulate adaptation measures in order to protect entities from the impact of natural hazards. Different adaptation strategies should be tested and compared for example through a cost-benefit ratio.

Training and Skills

CENTA students will attend 45 days training throughout their PhD including a 10 day placement. In the first year, students will be trained as a single cohort on environmental science, research methods and core skills. Throughout the PhD, training will progress from core skills sets to master classes specific to the student's projects and themes.

Specific for this project, the PhD student will gain skills to analyse state-of-the-art forecast data. This training will be in direct modelling as well as in a response surface approach and, specifically, is in:

  • extreme value and multi-variate analytical statistics
  • statistical modelling (multi-linear regression)
  • the basics of CAT models and their specific features to model hazards, vulnerabilities and exposure
  • fieldwork, integrated modelling,
  • GIS, and relevant programming giving the student skills identified as ‘most wanted’ for environmental jobs; ‘modelling’, ‘multi-disciplinarity’, ‘risk and uncertainty’.

This is excellent employment market preparation as scientific research skills, technical analysis and industry related model skills will be practiced and gained.

Timeline

Year 1: In the first year work will start with in-depth literature research on the topic. Additionally, the student will get familiar with the computational system at the UoB (including the HPC cluster Bluebear). Learning the usage of important tools in handling large datasets (e.g. cdo – climate data operators) and to start the statistical analysis of the data (mostly in R and Matlab) is intended in the first year. Work will start on the open source CAT model.

Year 2: The student will concentrate on the work defined in WP1 and WP2. Reanalysis data from ERA-20C and historical simulations from CMIP5 models will be used to assess decadal- to multi-decadal variability of the EASM and TCs. Work will start on the assessment of different adaptation strategies.

Year 3: In year three, the student will continue to work on WP2 and start to work on WP3 using information from WP1 and WP2. The TC occurrence in climate change signals for a range of CMIP5 models will be analysed. The cost-benefit analysis of different adaptation measures under different scenarios will be finished.

Partners and collaboration (including CASE)

Partners in this CENTA-PhD studentship will be UoBirmingham and regional partners in China (e.g. the Nanjing University) with which the PI has scientific collaboration in the framework of the CSSP-China project. Further on, collaborations exist with different groups at the UK Met Office, who is leading institution in this Newton Fund funded project.

Further Details

Dr Gregor C. Leckebusch

Senior Lecturer for Meteorology and Climatology

EHS Postgraduate Research Tutor

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

University of Birmingham 

email: G.C.Leckebusch@bham.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)121 41 45518