Environment

Environmental research is centre-stage at the University of Reading. Our academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students come together from a broad range of disciplines to explore, understand, and address climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainability, both natural and as shaped by humans. We collaborate with the very best researchers and users of research, nationally and internationally. These partnerships better enable us to play a critical role in tackling environmental challenges and provide solutions that are both adoptable and adopted.

Improving flood prediction to provide humanitarian support before a disaster

Researchers from the University of Reading have played a major role in improving flood forecasting, so that humanitarian aid can be delivered before the flood, before the disaster strikes. Flood…Read More >

Border checks on the go

A smartphone app and innovative biometric technology developed at Reading is being used at border crossings to keep people moving while maintaining security. Robust border control is essential, but long…Read More >

Drought monitoring and early warning for African food security

A satellite-based rainfall estimation system and drought forecasting system developed at the University of Reading are generating data to support drought insurance and agricultural decision-making. These new approaches to drought…Read More >

Understanding uncertainties brings about better weather forecasts

Advances in the use of satellite and radar data led by Reading mathematicians are helping agencies across the world, from the UK Met Office to NASA, to make better weather...Read More >

Greener building design helps China stay cool

Researchers at the University of Reading have developed a new model to improve the design and sustainability of buildings in China, with a view to optimising ambient temperature control while…Read More >

The big green energy balance

Research by the University of Reading is helping the UK move towards a ‘net zero’ carbon electricity system while improving affordability and accessibility. Producing energy for the UK has always…Read More >

Better clinical trial design speeds drug development

In order for a new treatment or therapy to be used in medical practice, clinical trials must be run during the research and development process, often taking years to complete…Read More >

Powerful X-ray beam gets scientists closer to reality

The UK’s first ambient-pressure soft X-ray beamline is helping scientists understand what happens at the interface between solids, vapours, and liquids under near-real life conditions. At Diamond Light Source, the...Read More >

What’s your poison? Targeted control of resistant rats

Rats and mice are becoming increasingly resistant to the rodenticides we rely on for their control. Reading researchers have been monitoring the genetic changes behind resistance to commonly used rodenticides,...Read More >

Tech helps climate scientists get to grips with big data

Technologies developed at Reading to enable researchers from industry and academia to run simulations and calculations involving massive datasets have helped make the UK a world-leader in environmental data analytics....Read More >

Bringing African vultures back from the brink

African vultures are rapidly becoming the world’s most threatened group of birds. Reading researchers have revealed the true scale of their plight and come up with solutions, spurring conservation action...Read More >

Improving urban weather forecasting

Researchers at the University of Reading have developed a new model for urban temperature forecasting that predicts how heat is captured and lost across the varying urban landscape. Forecasting temperatures…Read More >

Supporting the use of climate emission metrics in policymaking

Research in the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology has improved our understanding of the climate impact of greenhouse gas emissions. It has advanced the design and use of reliable…Read More >

Turbulence research leads to safer, greener flights

Air passengers are enjoying smoother, safer flights thanks to a turbulence forecasting algorithm that was co-developed at Reading. Mid-flight air turbulence is the leading weather-related cause of injuries to air…Read More >

Stripes spark conversations on climate change

Simple but striking graphics showing how the world’s climate has changed, created by a Reading climate scientist, have reached millions worldwide, starting conversations that may lead to solutions. Climate change…Read More >

Storm assessments no longer ‘all at sea’

Intense windstorms can wreak havoc on land and offshore. Researchers in the University of Reading’s Meteorology Department have pioneered the use of climate modelling and storm tracking to support evidence-based…Read More >

Restoring plant diversity in a biodiversity hotspot

Landscape restoration following mining operations in Australia is commonplace, but research revealed that over-fertilisation of ancient soils triggers long-term damage to biodiversity. Working closely with mining giants and regulators, Mark…Read More >

Getting better connected for the climate

A lack of connectedness – to others and to nature – is contributing to poor mental health and the climate crisis. Through a popular science book, public engagement, and government-level…Read More >

Voices for action in the climate conversation

Farmers in Uganda are adapting to the changing climate with little support from, or communication with, local government advisors. Grady Walker upskilled farmers in film-making to visualise the challenges and…Read More >

Opening up science for all

From enthusiastic ‘twitchers’ recording rare bird sightings to amateur astronomers seeking unseen stars and constellations, countless citizen science communities exist across the UK. Dr Geoghegan’s research is combining these approaches…Read More >

Border checks on the go (2019)

Robust border control is essential, but long security queues awaiting weary travellers are not. Professor James Ferryman is using a smartphone app and innovative biometric technology at border crossings to transform the…Read More >

Undergraduate research benefits local environment

Loddon Catchment Consultancy forges links between undergraduate students, staff and local organisations to address real-world research questions that bring benefits to the local environment and its residents alike. When students…Read More >

Real-time flood forecasts save lives

Predicting natural events such as storms and earthquakes is a challenge, but advance notice can help save lives. During Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in 2019, Dr Emerton and Dr Ficchi’s...Read More >

Improved outlook for African farmers (2019)

Millions of smallholder farmers across Africa now look forward to a more secure future thanks to satellite-derived estimates of rainfall that are helping insurance companies provide effective cover against drought….Read More >

Weather Rescue

Between 1883 and 1904 a group of Victorian meteorologists lived in a stone hut at the summit of Ben Nevis, observing the weather every hour of every day and night….Read More >

Turbulence research leads to smoother and safer flights (2018)

Mid-flight turbulence is a concern to more than just nervous flyers. It is the leading cause of injuries to air passengers and flight attendants and costs the global aviation sector…Read More >

African Vulture Conservation (2018)

Illegally killing elephants for ivory is still a lucrative trade. But the cost to vulnerable wildlife is also higher than many might think. To prevent detection, poachers are poisoning elephant…Read More >

Solar Stormwatch

Solar Stormwatch is a project to map, for the first time, solar storms – eruptions of mass ejected from the sun’s atmosphere. Led by Dr Luke Barnard and Professor Chris…Read More >

Spiralling upwards

Climate scientist Ed Hawkins has made a big difference to the understanding of a vital contemporary issue: the upward spiralling of global temperatures. Dr Hawkins analysed the past 165 years of…Read More >

Volcanic ash

Research to develop instrumentation and to develop models relevant to the dispersal of volcanic ash played a key role in establishing the requirement for a flight ban during the eruption...Read More >

Volcanic monitoring

Techniques have been proposed, developed and implemented to improve the monitoring of active volcanoes using radars that give operational warnings of eruptions and safe 'all-clears' following activity. To date, their...Read More >

Sting jets

In the early hours of the 16 October 1987, a now infamous storm caused a swathe of damage across southeast England and northern France, resulting in the deaths of 18...Read More >

Storm tracking

Research on tracking storms has been used to develop a storm-tracking and analysis software package, known as TRACK. This has found widespread applications, particularly in weather forecasting, climate model development...Read More >

Water quality

The accumulation of nutrients exported into water from land and atmospheric sources generates a variety of adverse impacts, leading to the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services and compromising water...Read More >

Africa Climate Exchange

Around 19 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are threatened by severe food shortages, with over four million people currently malnourished. There are a number of factors which contribute to this...Read More >

The Africa Climate Exchange: Niger

In Niger, AfClix activities continue to unite researchers from very different areas, all with the common aim to move resilience from theory to reality and to enable policymakers to learn,...Read More >

The Africa Climate Exchange: Tanzania

Coffee is Tanzania's largest export crop, with exports bringing in $60 million dollars each year to the economy (reported by USAID in 2009). Although rain plays an important role in...Read More >

The Africa Climate Exchange: Senegal

In one pilot project funded by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network, the Senegal Meteorological Service (ANACIM) working with the Red Cross and community leaders, is relaying weather information to...Read More >

The Africa Climate Exchange: Sudan

In Sudan, AfClix is setting up a new partnership between NCAS-Climate with Practical Action, climate departments in a number of Khartoum universities and the University of Oklahoma to extend the...Read More >