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Wouter Berghuijs wins a £500 prize for an exceptional PhD thesis

24 October 2017

Congratulations to Wouter Berghuijs from the Department of Civil Engineering, who has been awarded a £500 prize for the exceptional quality of his PhD thesis.

An annual prize is presented for the thesis considered to be the best quality within the Faculty of Engineering. The title of Wouter’s winning thesis, supervised by Dr Ross Woods, was ‘Bringing structure to catchment-scale hydrological diversity around the world’. The research covered many aspects of water including; floods, droughts, and long-term changes in water resources. One example of the work was a new way to identify different types of floods, not all floods are made the same way! Knowing which types of floods occur in different places enables a more reliable estimation of flood risk and improves our ability to reliably detect changes in flood hazards that result from changes in climate or land use.

 A summary of Wouter's thesis is as follows -

Understanding the water cycle is key for the management of global freshwater resources, both for predicting natural hazards, for example floods and droughts, and for understanding the earth system more generally, such as climate change. The thesis covers a topic which will be at the heart of future societal developments. One of the key challenges which hydrology faces is dealing with the enormous diversity of environmental conditions across the world; no two watersheds are the same and, even when they appear near identical, their conditions are likely to change over time.

Dr Berghuijs devoted his PhD studies to developing ways of better conceptualising the hydrologic similarities and differences of thousands of catchments across the world. His work provides insight into various aspects directly relevant to applied and more theoretical hydrology, for example flood risk, climate change impacts and prediction in ungauged basins.


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