Collaboration with Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and University of Glasgow.
The summer of 2018 highlighted the vulnerability of UK water resources to climate change. This was not only an issue of water quantity, but was exacerbated by issues of water quality, particularly harmful algal blooms (HABs) favoured by higher temperatures and low rainfall. This led to higher treatment costs, restriction to drinking water supplies, closures of recreational waters and dog deaths. HAB monitoring is currently reactive and restricted in scale, which limits proactive management and raises risks to public and animal health of acute and chronic disease. Recent innovation in Earth observation (EO), including new satellites (Copernicus, PlanetLabs) and methods (NERC GloboLakes), and citizen observations (CO) (CEH Bloomin’ Algae) can dramatically change this by delivering data-driven climate services to water companies, regulators and local authorities.
We propose to demonstrate the power of new EO products developed in GloboLakes for monitoring HABs in inland waters and complement these with shore-based CO of HABs to quantify the impact of seasonal and short-term climatic extremes on UK water quality. The two approaches provide cross-validation, complementarity in the scale of monitoring and allow verification of findings. We will then develop a multi-disciplinary team of EO and freshwater scientists and statisticians working with water utilities and health protection agencies to develop a service delivering decision-relevant data for increasing climate resilience.