Hot Seat with Declan O'Shea
Declan is completing his PhD within a wider, industry funded research project which proposes to investigate the influence of rising temperatures on very rare to extreme floods (those with an annual recurrence interval rarer than 1 in 50). Floods of this size are of interest when assessing flood risk associated dams and other major infrastructure. Recent studies have shown that storm events are intensifying due to rising global temperatures. However, studies into changes in flood magnitude have focused on frequent events. Additionally, there is conflicting evidence as to whether rainfall intensification will lead to an increase in flood magnitude. This research proposes to separately consider the influence of rising temperatures on the major factors that influence flood magnitude, namely rainfall intensities, associated spatio-temporal patterns, and antecedent rainfall. Once each of these sensitivities have been assessed, it becomes possible to reconstruct these rare to extreme flood events and assess their overall sensitivity to temperature change. Given the industry backing of this research it is hoped that the results will be used to inform future flood risk assessments of infrastructure around Australia.