Established in 2011, the Smith Institute’s annual TakeAIM competition is an opportunity for university students to showcase their work on the industrial stage. The TakeAIM 2023 winner is STOR-i PhD student, Eleanor D'Arcy.
In discussing her competition entry, titled ‘Accounting for climate change and seasonality in extreme sea level estimation’, Eleanor stated: “Rises in mean sea level coupled with changes in storm behaviour due to climate change have increased the risk of coastal flooding globally. Therefore, it is increasingly important to accurately estimate extreme sea levels for coastal flood risk management. Current techniques for this make false assumptions that underestimate the risk posed by extreme sea levels, for example at Heysham and Lowestoft which are both UK sites close to nuclear power stations. Underestimation of extreme sea levels can lead to the breaching of flood defences with devastating consequences.
Extreme sea level estimation requires statistical theory to extrapolate to levels not observed in the data. Our method is the first to capture seasonality as well as interactions between sea level components. We use global mean temperature in our model to capture trends resulting from anthropogenic climate change. Through this research, we have found evidence that the frequency of extreme storm events is increasing with global warming, in addition to the widely known rises in mean sea level. Our model demonstrates a significant improvement on the estimation techniques currently used in practice."
Commenting on the prize, Eleanor said, “I feel extremely honoured to be selected as the winner of the TakeAIM competition and look forward to presenting my research at the awards ceremony at the Science Museum in London later this month. I am excited by the platform this gives me to showcase my research, given its links with climate change and coastal flood management. I’d like to thank my supervisors Jonathan Tawn (Lancaster University) and Dafni Sifnioti (EDF) for their continued support, as well as fellow STOR-i student Callum Murphy-Barltrop for providing feedback on my submission. Lastly, thank you to the Smith Institute for choosing me!"
Details of the competition can be found here: https://www.smithinst.co.uk/takeaim/Back to News