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PhD Opportunity at Durham University on temporal patterns of diffuse pollution risk

Temporal patterns of diffuse pollution risk: combining monitoring with UAV with modelling approaches.

Supervisors: Dr. Sim Reaney and Prof. Tim Burt at Durham University
The impact of diffuse pollution on water bodies is significant and is cited as a key reason why many rivers and lakes are not meeting the Good Ecological Status level under the Water Framework Directive. Due to the extensive, temporally and spatially variable nature of diffuse pollution, it is difficult to monitor, map or mitigate. A useful framework for understanding diffuse pollution is ‘Source-Mobilisation-Pathway-Impact’ and the spatial configuration of the sources and pathways will lead to the creation of Critical Source Areas. Through understanding how the source and mobilisation risks change in space and time allows for greater targeting of mitigation measures within the catchment and hence the greatest reduction in diffuse pollution risk.
Most approaches to mapping diffuse pollution risk are based on a fixed land cover map to describe the spatial pattern of source and mobilisation risk within a catchment. However, the land cover varies on both annual cycles and sub-annual time scales. Between years, different crops are planted in the same field as part of a crop rotation and during the year, the amount of bare ground changes as the crops grow, hence changing the diffuse pollution risk. The aim of this PhD project would be to explore how information on the annual and sub-annual vegetation cover can be captured and utilised within a diffuse pollution risk mapping approach. Methods that will be explored include simulation modelling of crop growth, low level remote sensing using a quadcopter UAV and fixed location high resolution time-lapse photography. The spatial pattern of risk will then be used within the SCIMAP risk mapping framework to identify key mitigation locations within the catchment. The project will be set within the River Eden catchment in collaboration with the Defra funded River Eden Demonstration Test Catchment project.
Application deadline 28th Feb 2012.
Please contact Sim Reaney at Durham University.
Funding details.

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