Sarah Warren looks to bring the Otter trophy home

On Wednesday 8 March the winner of the CIWEM New Generations competition, from the Tyne and Humber Branch, will be announced.

Eight people originally submitted abstracts and three have been shortlisted for the final round – one of which being Sarah Warren, Environmental Modelling Analyst based in our Skipton office.

The competition is a great opportunity for candidates to showcase their work. Entrants had to be under the age 30 and work in the water, wastewater or environmental management area.

“We’re very supportive of the CIWEM New Generations competition and very proud of Sarah for getting this far. We wish her all the best in her final presentation.” Andrew Gubbin, JBA Director.

Good luck Sarah

Sarah will need to give a 20-minute presentation on her abstract titled “Modelling a multivariate world: How we applied advanced statistical methods to inform the new National Risk Assessment and support flood risk practitioners.”

The competition winner will be decided by a panel of judges and will receive the John O’Neill Otter Trophy alongside free CIWEM membership for a year.

JBA staff have been at the forefront with candidates of the Otter Trophy in previous years, with many being shortlisted and several becoming winners. Neil Hunter, Technical Director for Environmental Modelling and Kevin Hasledine, Chartered Senior Analyst for Hydraulic Modelling and Hydrology are to name a few successful candidates. We’re therefore hoping Sarah can bring the Otter Trophy home to JBA for another time.

The winner will also determine the Tyne and Humber Branch’s candidate for the CIWEM Young Environmentalist of the Year giving the winner (good luck Sarah) regional and perhaps national recognition.

Sarah’s abstract

Understanding the joint probability of multiple variables being “extreme” is important in assessing risk of widespread flooding, or the likelihood of extreme combinations of rainfall, river flow or sea surge. New methods, based on recent advances in statistical research, generalise and extend joint probability analysis of concurrent extremes for tens, or hundreds, of variables. This talk will discuss how these methods were used in the government’s latest national flood scenarios, and also made more accessible for analysis at catchment or coastal region scales.

The methods were used to model widespread fluvial and pluvial flooding events across England and Wales, which underpin the inland flooding scenario in the 2017 National Risk Assessment. Statistically plausible patterns of extreme river flow and rainfall were simulated and, for selected scenarios, turned into flood depth and impacts maps. The work gave the government confidence to introduce a new entry in the National Risk Register: widespread surface water flooding.

The national analysis required bespoke software, but a legacy of this work is the Multivariate Event Modeller tool, which implements similar methods with user-supplied data to estimate the joint probability of extreme events in up to 10 variables. The talk will demonstrate how this tool can help for catchment-scale risk assessment.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to support Sarah and the other finalists you can attend the presentation event tomorrow at Arup, 78 East Street, Leeds LS9 8EE from 5:45pm for 6pm.

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