Hydro-JULES was delighted to be invited to exhibit at the FFIR Open Event on 27th November 2018. Marking the end of a five-year programme, with sub-project names such as ‘Frank’ and ‘Sinatra’, was always going to be something special, made even more so with the dulcet tones of Frank Sinatra (provided by the fabulous Kevin Fitzsimmons trio) filling the Royal Society rooms. Integrating climate and hydrological models has always been notoriously difficult with the scientific community being the first to chastise itself for its frustratingly slow progress in this regard; however, as this singing legend reminds us, we will never know what ‘spring is like on Jupiter and Mars’ if we don’t allow ourselves to ‘fly  to the moon’.
One of our Hydro-JULES scientists, Toby Marthews, said that ‘attending the conference was a great opportunity to access the expertise of the FFIR project. Intense rainfall is a crucial aspect of the climate system and it links very closely to the emphasis in Hydro-JULES to extreme events.’ He added that ‘Hydro-JULES presents an exciting opportunity to really make a step change in the UK’s ability to model hydrological systems and we hope to build on the previous work that has been done through the FFIR project.’
Emma Robinson, CEH Land Surface Scientist, was impressed by ‘how many people had heard of Hydro-JULES, were interested and wanted to know more’. Sharing experiences is crucial at any stage of a project, and Emma felt the conference was a ‘great opportunity to learn from the experiences the FFIR had attempting integrated modelling.’
As well as knowledge-sharing, there were many interesting presentations throughout the day highlighting the work of the FFIR programme and the human element and suffering caused by severe flooding was never ignored, with Craig Woolhouse from the Environment Agency reminding us of the 1953 North Sea floods which resulted in 2,551 deaths. Half a century later, not only are our sea defences better, but we are also much better able to predict such storms and prevent such a devastating loss of life.
In a poignant celebration of the arts and sciences coming together, the conference closed with a specially crafted poem from Sam Illingworth, again reminding climate scientists why they do what they do.
Heather Trevis, Hydro-JULES Project Administrator