Blog posts

   Experiences of the 2015–16 El Niño from across the tropics highlight the importance of building long-term resilience

Livestock in Halaba District, Ethiopia

It is widely anticipated that the global climate in 2019 will once again be affected by El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean. This can contribute to a range of experiences of weather extremes across the tropics and impact natural resources and livelihoods in a variety of ways, often requiring people to make adjustments to their livelihood strategies or resource usage.

   Reflections on the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

Jonathan Paul

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting is widely regarded as the largest and most important conference in science. In 2018, for the first time, I was involved in convening a couple of sessions. The first — about the use of citizen science in natural hazard risk reduction — was something of an extension of a special issue of Frontiers in Earth Science on a similar theme, which I am co-editing with other Landslide EVO researchers. Following a project meeting in February 2018, we identified a 'gap in the market' that we hoped would be plugged by a second session proposal — this time, on the use of sensor networks in hydrology.

   Studentship spotlight: from a village in India to university in London

What would you call a girl from an Indian village who gets a scholarship to study in London and decides to step out of her comfort zone for the first time in her life? Crazy, opportunistic, brave, intelligent? Well, I have heard of all those adjectives for me and I won't deny any of them. I spent 17 years of my life studying to get a scholarship to attain education, competing against the huge Indian population since I was seven years of age. Little did I know that that this would lead me to sit for examinations that would help me apply for a PhD in international colleges. I had dreamed of being a research scientist since childhood but never thought that I would get an opportunity to be a sponsored PhD student in a unique international project like SHEAR that includes big names like King's College London, the British Geological Survey, the Natural Environment Research Council, the Red Cross Red Crescent Society and Imperial College London.

   Bringing SHEAR together in Brighton

The SHEAR programme held its first annual meeting in this autumn, bringing together the wide range of researchers involved in the different projects and all their different experiences and perspectives. Here, three members of the SHEAR Studentship Cohort — Neeraj Sah, Anna Twomlow and Siobhan Dolan — share their reflections on the experience.

   Citizen science: friend or foe?

Katarzyna Cieslik and Jonathan Paul, Landslide-EVO

Landslide-EVO sensor

The annual Development Studies Association conference invites both academic and practitioner reflections on issues of global importance, from poverty alleviation, through gender justice and the practices of inclusion, to the sustainable use of natural resources. This year's event was hosted by the University of Manchester and centred around the broadly understood theme of global inequalities 'as a subject of research, an issue for action and as a lens through which to approach the world'.

   Pressure cooker: can you design a risk communication strategy in 24 hours?

Anna Twomlow (SHEAR Studentship Cohort PhD student, Imperial College London)
Olivia Taylor (SHEAR Studentship Cohort PhD student, University of Sussex)

Pressure cooker challenge

Every two years, academics, professionals and practitioners working in disaster risk management gather for the Understanding Risk Forum, a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation in disaster risk management. This year, the forum was hosted in Mexico City, and we were fortunate enough to participate, and take part in the world's first 24-hour 'Risk communication pressure cooker challenge'. The challenge was hosted by the Water Youth Network, an organisation that connects youth and organisations within the water sector and beyond.

   New perspectives: fieldwork in Nepal

Neeraj Sah, PhD Scholar, Landslide-EVO, Imperial College London
Siobhan Dolan, PhD Scholar, FATHUM, University of Reading


Rain gauge at Buddhiganga

I started my PhD with fieldwork in western Nepal, and I have no qualms in saying that I had a completely unexpected experience in terms of my understanding of the project, and interaction and collaboration with local people, government officials and other stakeholders.

This fieldwork was carried out by Jonathan Paul, Neeraj Sah, Saugat Paudel and Siobhan Dolan from the Landslide-EVO project between 1 and 12 May 2018. The main objectives were to replace an existing river-level sensor with a new, more sophisticated one, and to install other sensors and a dense network of rain gauges at various locations in the Upper Karnali basin (Bahjang and Bajura districts) that are prone to landslide and flood risk.

It was a very exciting journey as we met new people, local leaders, school teachers and students every day, shared our research objectives, and involved them as much as possible at this stage of the project.

   Showcasing projects building resilience to El Niño — lessons from the field

Showcasing projects building resilience to El Niño — lessons from the field

The most recent El Niño event, occurring from 2015 to 2016, was amongst the strongest ever recorded. In response, NERC and the Department of International Development (DfID) funded the Understanding the Impacts of the Current El Niño Event research programme, which seeks to improve societal wellbeing by building a knowledge base to inform preparation for future extreme climate events.

23 February 2018