Environmental Change

Rapid economic and population growth are putting increasing pressures on natural resources, and human activities are causing unprecedented environmental changes, including changes to the global climate. These major global environmental challenges require solutions from the scientific community.

Changes in the global climate will have both direct and indirect effects on local and regional water resources, and environmental hazards, such as storms, and episodes of floods and droughts. Climate change will effect the cycling of nutrients and energy in the terrestrial water cycle and will have an impact on ecosystem services. But at the moment the environmental impacts of global climate change are often still uncertain.

Environmental scientists are working to understand the processes that are propagating global-scale changes down to environmental changes at the local scale. They are working to estimate what the impacts of global changes may be, if and how those impacts can be mitigated, and what adaptions may be needed in the future.

EVO, through our work on demonstrating enhanced modelling capability related to drought mapping and flood prediction using cloud technologies, is contributing to the efforts to develop better impact assessment models, and this Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded project is just one of a number of NERC initiatives, such as the Changing Water Cycle Programme and the Macronutrient Cycles Programme that are aimed at providing the best evidence and science to enable policy makers and industry to respond effectively to the challenge of environmental change.

NERC along with the UK’s other main funders of environmental research have joined forces to address the issue of environmental change. Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) is a ten-year programme, which is providing decision makers with the best information to effectively manage and protect vital ecosystem services. It is improving our tools and knowledge needed to build resilience, mitigate problems, and adapt to environmental change.