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Dr Rutger Dankers

Rutger looks at ways to forecast the impacts of weather.

Rutger leads the Weather Impacts team which looks at high impact weather, as well as the impact of weather on society.

Current activities

Rutger manages the Weather Impacts team which is part of the Verification, Impacts and Post-Processing section in Weather science. The aim of the team is to develop post-processing systems and products for high-impact weather, as well as models and tools for forecasting the impact of the weather on society. Risk is the combination of probability and impact, and the use of probabilistic forecasts based on ensemble forecasting is a key tool for the group. Current activities of the team include:

  • Developing a Global Hazard Map using ensemble forecast data to predict hazardous weather, including forecasts of tropical cyclones, heavy rain and strong winds.
  • Development of a weather regime forecast tool and relating regime types to severe weather impacts.
  • Development and evaluation of a risk-based probabilistic first-guess early warning system for severe weather.
  • Developing modules for the Hazard Impact Model, a key activity of the Natural Hazards Partnership (NHP).

The Hazard Impact Model will form the basis for a hazard impact forecasting service, combining data and expertise from NHP Partners to identify the impact of a range of natural hazards (such as severe weather, flooding and landslides) on populations, areas and assets. To achieve this, information about the extent of the hazard (the footprint) is combined with information about the likely exposure of the public, infrastructure and environment, and their respective vulnerabilities.

As a prototype module, the Weather Impacts team has developed a Vehicle Overturning Model that aims at forecasting the risk of disruption to the road network due to high winds.

Career background

Rutger has worked extensively on climate impacts, hydrology and natural hazards such as floods and droughts. He has been involved in the ISI-MIP (ISI-MIP) from the start and is currently co-coordinator global water sector for the second phase (2013-2017). Before moving to Weather Science in 2013 he worked at the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services on a range of projects involving the land surface model Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES). Before joining the Met Office in 2009, Rutger worked for three years at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) in Ispra, Italy. Here he studied the impact of climate change on river floods and streamflow droughts at European scale. Between 2002 and 2005 he worked as a post-doc at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in the European FP5 project Global Change Vulnerabilities in the Barents Region: Linking Arctic Natural Resources, Climate Change and Economies (BALANCE) in which he was modelling freshwater discharge in the Barents Sea Region. In 2002 Rutger obtained his PhD from the same university with a study on climate impacts on sub-Arctic hydrology.

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