[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 26-Sep-2012
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Contact: Dr Virginia Nicolás-Perea
vnp2@le.ac.uk
44-011-622-31018
University of Leicester

Launch of new center to monitor effects of droughts, floods and land use change

University of Leicester launches its new Centre for Landscape and Climate Research

IMAGE: This image was taken in the East Anglian Fens, where the new centre is running a project on greenhouse gas emissions.

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University of Leicester scientists are set to launch a new centre which aims to predict the effects climate change and land use change will have on landscapes.

The Centre for Landscape and Climate Research will measure the effects of climate change on ecosystems around the world as well as assessing the impacts of severe droughts and flooding.

The centre, based at the University of Leicester, will be opened with a launch event on September 28 featuring talks from representatives of the space company Astrium GeoInformation, the European Environment Agency, Plymouth Marine Lab, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Joint Nature Conservancy Committee, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Food and Environment Research Agency.

The centre will use satellite data to study water cycle changes around the world. They will have access to data from up to 30 years ago, and hope to be able to forecast water conditions up to 70 years in the future.

The researchers hope to research both global trends and local issues, and aim to provide recommendations to policy-makers including local authorities and the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Professor Heiko Balzter, the centre director, from the University's Department of Geography, said: "In this research centre I hope to provide a research focus that brings together physical scientists, geologists, climate scientists, ecologists, hydrologists, social scientists, computer scientists and mathematicians. The problem we are studying is very complex, and needs experts from a wide range of disciplines to understand it.

"How rainfall, soil moisture and water resources change in space and time is a highly fascinating subject. I am very excited about the opportunity to conduct research in this field."

Dr Virginia Nicolás-Perea, Research Manager for the centre, said: "Researching the water cycle is very important because it affects our way of life.

"There have been a lot of problems with droughts and flooding recently. This summer has been one of the wettest ever, and last winter was one of the driest winters ever.

"We have noticed a gap in research on the water cycle, and wanted to have the opportunity to use the satellite data to monitor climate effects – not just here in Leicester but everywhere in the world."

The launch will feature a talk from Professor Sir Robert Burgess, the University's Vice-Chancellor. It will also feature a poster session where young researchers present their results. The best poster will be awarded a prize.

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The event will be held at Lecture Theatre 1, Bennett Building, University of Leicester, on September 28 from 10am to 4pm. To book a place, please contact Dr Virginia Nicolás-Perea (Tel. 0116 223 1018; email vnp2@le.ac.uk).

Notes:

For more information, please contact Dr Virginia Nicolás-Perea on 0116 223 1018 or at vnp2@le.ac.uk.

The research centre gratefully acknowledges financial support by the Royal Society, the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).



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