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Deciphering past flood disaster – Bath Spa University

Deciphering past flood disaster in high mountain regions based on tree-ring records

Wednesday 2 December, 2020 – Wednesday 2 December, 2020
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM


Part of the Hazard, Risk and Disaster (HRD) Research Seminar Series 2020-21.

Climate change is expected to have an impact in the frequency and magnitude of extreme floods events in mountain regions, mostly because of changes in precipitation and temperature variables, but also due to an increase in number and size of glacial lakes that could outburst. The implementation of adaptation and mitigation measurements against these threats requires an appropriate understanding of the processes involved in the trigger mechanisms of such events, but also on their evolution and expected impacts. Yet, in most of the mountain regions, these assessments are hindered by the lack of observation.

In this talk, Juan A. Ballesteros-Canovas will show how the information contained in the tree-ring records can help to overcome this limitation. By showing the basis and specific study cases, he will explain how evidence from trees can provide insights on the regional spatial - temporal evolution of GLOFs in Tien Shan, or how uncertainties on the regional flood frequency can be constrained in the Indian Himalayas. These two cases have had important consequences in disaster managing and therefore demonstrate how applied science can be used for local adaptation.

A video of the talk is available below.

About the speaker

Dr Juan A. Ballesteros-Canovas is a Lecturer in Earth Science and member of the ‘Climate Change impact in the Anthropocene’ at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). He is also co-leader of the Flood Working Group of PAGES. Dr Ballesteros-Canovas completed his PhD in Flood Risk Assessment at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and then moved to University of Bern as a post-doc researcher. He holds two MSc, one in Forest Engineering (Polytechnic University of Madrid) and the other in Environmental Geology (University of Leon). His main research line is the use of non-systematic records to decipher changes in the occurrence and magnitude of extreme weather-related events in high mountain regions related to climate change. Over the last years, he has been working in most of the high mountain ranges worldwide, with a particular focus on the Indian Himalayas.

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