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Newton Fund Improves Early Flood Warning

2018.09.28

Typhoon Mangkhut

On 16 September Severe Typhoon Mangkhut battered Hong Kong, Macao and the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province, leaving a trail of damage, flooding, hundreds’ injuries and a few deaths in its wake. Pictures posted on internet, showing the extent of floods were shocking: the river water flooded out; cars soaked desperately; car parks turned into a fishing pool.

To mitigate the level of damage and loss from urban flooding requires accurate knowledge of rainfall estimates at the outset. That’s where Professor Yunqing Xuan from Swansea University and Professor Dehua Zhu from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology come in. They are conducting a pilot study on using Advanced Phased Array Radar (APAR) in the urban flooding early warning system in Guangzhou, one of China’s densest  cities in terms of population, with over 20 million citizens.

The APAR is the world’s most advanced radar system for severe weather monitoring and forecasting. It can show rainfall approaching from the upper atmosphere and provide much higher resolution rainfall estimates up to 30 seconds for 900 square meters. This significantly improves monitoring of severe thunderstorms, as their evolution can be better evaluated with more timely data. As such the accuracy of rainfall estimates and forecast could be much improved.

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Lookign at cutting-edge active phase array radar (APAR)

Funded by the Newton Fund through the Royal Academy of Engineering with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, this is the first such project in the world using the cutting-edge active phase array radar (APAR) to provide rainfall monitoring and storm warning information for cities at large scale.

As the climate changes, flooding has become more frequent among cities of the world, posing great challenges to urban public safety. This project is able to combine UK and Chinese expertise and capability to develop the knowledge and technology that are needed to support climate resilient development and social welfare, working to tackle the Sustainable Development Goals. The impact is sustainable and transferrable, not only to China, but to the UK as well.

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