The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Annual Tsuan Hua Feng Distinguished Lecture

Upcoming Lecture: TBD


Last Lecture: 2019


Dr. Paul Bates, CBE                                                                                            Professor of Hydrology                                                                                          University of Bristol, UK


Paul Bates is Professor of Hydrology at the University of Bristol in the UK, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Scholar. He obtained a BSc from the University of Southampton, and his PhD from the University of Bristol.  He has held Visiting Scientist positions at Princeton University, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Laboratoire National d'Hydraulique, Paris, the EU Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
He has widespread research interests in risk, resilience, uncertainty, governance and decision-making in relation to natural hazards and global water issues. His main science contribution has been to improve the prediction of flood inundation through the development of new computer models, the use of data from new airborne, satellite and ground sensors and through the better characterization of risk and uncertainty. 
He is a double recipient of the Lloyd's of London Science of Risk prize and in 2015 he was awarded a 50th Anniversary Prize for Economic Impact by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council.  He has published over 200 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and was made a Commander of the British Empire for services to flood risk management in 2019.

Modelling River Flood Risk for the Whole Continental U.S.


True hydrodynamic modelling at continental scales represents a revolution in hydraulic science and has the potential to transform decision-making and risk management in a wide variety of fields. Such modelling draws on a rich heritage of algorithm and data set development in hydraulic modelling over the last 20 years, and is now beginning to yield new insights into current and future flood risk.  This seminar reviews this progress and outlines recent efforts to develop a 30m resolution true hydrodynamic model of the entire continental US.  The model is built using an automated framework which uses US National Elevation Dataset, the HydroSHEDS river network, regionalised frequency analysis to determine extreme flow and rainfall boundary conditions and the USACE National Levee Dataset to characterize flood defences.  Comparison against FEMA and USGS flood maps shows the continental model to have skill approaching that of bespoke models built with local data.  The seminar describes the development and testing of the model, and its use to estimate current and future flood risk in the US using high resolution population maps and development projections.

Past Feng Lecturers »