HJ Education logoThe Hydro-JULES Internship 2024 programme

The Hydro-JULES intern 2024 programme is now CLOSED.

What is the Hydro-JULES Internship Programme?

The Hydro-JULES intern programme offers students from hydrology and environmental science backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working at UKCEH alongside a diverse and collaborative team of Hydro-JULES scientists. 

Applicants were invited to apply to six research projects. The successful applicants from the universities shown below will have the unique opportunity to contribute to significant scientific advancements while advancing their own academic and professional careers.


Project 1 - Understanding the influence of the North Atlantic on European river flows

Supervisors: Amulya Chevuturi (UKCEH), Wilson Chan (UKCEH), and Eugene Magee(UKCEH).

The CANARI project aims to understand the influence of the North Atlantic’s large-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulation on UK weather and climate. Recent research within this project has revealed that specific North Atlantic sea-surface temperature (SST) patterns impact the UK weather, with effects observable at extended lead times. This influence can result in dry conditions and, in extreme cases, droughts in the UK, evidenced by reduced rainfall and river flow. Original study demonstrates that these SST patterns strongly correlate with elevated temperatures and reduced rainfall in Europe, with a lag of a few months. However, it is crucial to quantify this influence on European river flow patterns. This objective is important in understanding the changes in European river flows and proactively predicting such alterations to implement effective mitigation measures amid potential drought scenarios. Reference Hydrometric Networks' (RHNs) can be used for this objective by providing data from locations with minimal human impact, through the ROBIN project.  

Within this framework, the Hydro-JULES studentship program presents a project aimed at comprehending the impact of distinct North Atlantic SST patterns on European riverflows, utilizing pan-European river flow data from the ROBIN RHNs. This project will have collaborations and expertise from scientists from NOC, Southampton and NCAS, Reading. The output from this project will inform future applications of drought forecasting systems across Europe. 

Project 2 - Characterising sub-seasonal to seasonal variability in extreme thunderstorms over India

Supervisors: Emma Barton (UKCEH), Joshua Talib (UKCEH), Cornelia Klein (UKCEH) 

Across India, large thunderstorm clusters – so-called Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCSs) - are a major component of the water cycle during the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM), when they contribute between 50 to 70% of the total rainfall. Their sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S; 1 to 6 week) variability can thus have a profound impact on agriculture, socio-economic status and water security across the nation, impacting the lives of over a billion people. Extreme thunderstorms in particular are associated with life threatening hazards such as flash-flooding and lightning. Accurate forecasts of increased MCS activity are hence critical for planning and hazard mitigation, yet due to the complexity of the earth system, S2S forecast skill remains low. In addition, identifying S2S drivers of extreme MCSs will help us to better benchmark climate models and their ability to capture important drivers of future rainfall extremes, for which estimates are needed to inform longer-term hydraulic infrastructure scaling. 

This project will utilise a new global storm track dataset and state-of-the-art satellite and reanalysis products to analyse S2S variability of MCSs, and investigate the key environmental drivers to storm variability. In particular, the project will investigate links between large-scale atmospheric sub-seasonal variability and the likelihood of extreme thunderstorms as defined by their precipitation and flash rates. Through this project, we will identify opportunities for improved forecasts of these extreme hydro-meteorological events across India. 

The ISM is characterised by sub-seasonal wet and dry periods. Sub-seasonal rainfall variability throughout the ISM is partly modulated by the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO), an atmospheric wave which modulates tropical weather on S2S timescales. The MJO controls large-scale atmospheric conditions including wind shear, humidity, and atmospheric instability, which, alongside land surface characteristics, modulate the likelihood of convective initiation and subsequent convective storm development. Observations of individual storms and atmospheric reanalysis will be used to identify the relative roles of these environmental conditions in MJO-modulated convection. Understanding how the MJO affects storm characteristics will provide valuable information for forecast development. 

The project aligns well with international efforts to understand the links between S2S atmospheric variability and local weather characteristics. Through collaborative partnerships with U.K. universities and Indian forecasting institutions, such as the University of Leeds and Indian Meteorological Department, the scientific research will support national and international efforts. 

Project 3 - Assessing the performance of new Impact-based Flood Forecasting tools (Forecasting Verification Scientist)

Project Supervisors - Steven Cole (UKCEH), Robert Moore (UKCEH), Seonaid Anderson (UKCEH), Michael Cranston (SEPA) 

Across the world, operational hydro-meteorological agencies are increasingly using Impact-based Forecasting (IbF) methods to support the warning services they deliver. Many IbF and warning services, such as the Met Office National Severe Weather Warning Service and the Flood Guidance Statements from the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service and Flood Forecasting Centre, use a Risk Matrix approach that combines the potential impact and the likelihood of these impacts occurring.  

 Whilst the evaluation of hazard (e.g. rainfall or flood) forecasts against observations is well established, evaluation of IbF outputs is an emerging discipline. This project will look at evaluating the performance of the new PREDICTOR (PREDICTing flooding impacts from cOnvective Rainfall) system used by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and developed with UKCEH and the Met Office. PREDICTOR is a next generation tool that utilises the latest Met Office convective precipitation ensemble forecasting capabilities and an impact-based forecasting approach using the National Flood Risk Assessment flood maps and was used to support the response to Storm Babet.  

Project 4 - Quantifying water and carbon intensities of UK food and bioenergy production systems

Supervisors: Brenda D’Acunha (UKCEH) & Ross Morrison (UKCEH)

The global agricultural land area is under multiple and competing pressures. A large fraction of the terrestrial surface has been converted to cropland and is essential to meeting the nutritional, energy, and resource demands of a growing human population. At the same time, the expansion and intensification of cropland systems consumes large and increasing quantities of water and nutrients, represents a major historical cause of biodiversity loss, and is a significant source of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere. These impacts are projected to intensify under future environmental change. 

This student project aims to estimate the carbon and water intensities of food and energy production for UK (and potentially global) croplands. New observational data will be analysed to assess potential trade-offs between carbon focused land management versus water use and agricultural output. The student will collate and analyse high-frequency observational data on water (evapotranspiration) and CO2 exchanged between croplands and the atmosphere across UK-Flux, a state-of-the-art national network of flux towers operated by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Flux tower data will be combined with crop yield and crop nutritional information (i.e., calories, proteins, vitamins, fibre) to estimate the water intensity (water use per nutrient content) and carbon intensity (CO2 emission per nutrient content) of different cropping systems across a range of soil types, management practices and climatic regimes. By the end of this project, the student will create new metrics to rank food and bioenergy production systems based on their carbon emissions and water use per crop nutritional value.  

Project 6 - Reservoir Storage and Release in the UK for Water Resources.

Supervisors: Helen Baron (UKCEH), Virginie Keller (UKCEH),Anna Murgatroyd (University of Oxford)
Advisors: Nathan Rickards (UKCEH)

Water resource modelling is an area of increasing importance as a combination of climate change and population growth places increased pressure on limited freshwater resources. Surface water reservoirs are a key source of water for human use in the UK and can significantly impact flow rates downstream (for example, the flow regime of the river Tyne is heavily influenced by the Kielder reservoir). It is therefore vital that reservoirs are represented in water resource models, so that an important water source is included when assessing supply-demand balance, and to improve the accuracy of river flow simulations.

In recent work, a representation of reservoirs was added to the JULES land surface model, along with other water resource management functionality. This representation uses generic reservoir routing equations (akin to those used in the H08 model) and is applicable at a coarse scale for global or regional modelling;however, these equations are not suitable for finer resolution modelling. In this project, we hope to determine a generic reservoir routing scheme that can model reservoir storage and release within a gridded water resource model at a 1km resolution. The objectives of this project are:

  • Review existing reservoir routing schemes applicable to fine-scale spatial modelling.
  • Where possible, test these routines using observed/modelled inflow, outflow, and storage data for UK reservoirs.
  • Make a recommendation on the most suitable reservoir routing scheme to be incorporated into the JULES model and/or UniFHy framework.

Depending on time, there is scope for the student to extend this work according to their interest (e.g. expanding geographical extent, exploring machine learning options, etc.).

Hydro-JULES Internship Presentations - August 2023

Our two Hydro-JULES interns completed their placements with us on 18 August by presenting their work to members of the Hydro-JULES project team.

Danny Cooper mentored by Brenda D’Acunha and Ross Morrison presented his work on ‘quantifying water productivity and carbon intensity of food and bioenergy production systems' and  Felipe Feleni, mentored by Amulya Chevuturi, Doran Khamis, Gianni Vesuviano, and Matt Fry, presented his work ‘Exploring the drivers of variability in flood events across the UK’ first.'.

Arc Boat

Waterborne: Nick (left) and Doran launch the boat into the river Thames at Wallingford

Watching the river flow: (left to right) Nick, Felipe and Doran monitor data transmitted from the ARC boat.

Watching the river flow: Nick, Felipe and Doran monitor data transmitted from the ARC boat.

HJ Intern Danny Cooper

Quantifying water productivity and carbon intensity of food and bioenergy production systems

HJ Intern - Felipe

I really found it useful seeing the working of the workplace with project hours etc and very much enjoyed seeing how data science and statistics is applied to different fields.
- Daniel Cooper, UEA

The project was interesting and provided an opportunity to chat with people that I knew from my PhD, as well an opportunity to meet another research environment.  Doran and Amula have been great supervisors on all matters, from technical knowledge to help with my integration with the workgroup and workplace. My advisors Gianni and Matt, have also been involved in the project  and have supported me with technical knowledge when needed.
 - Felipe Fileni, U. Newcastle

Congratulations to both Felipe and Danny for all the work they managed to achieve in their short time at UKCEH and for their excellent presentations.

For enquiries, please contact us at hydrojules@ceh.ac.uk.