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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P015476/1
Title: Newton Fund (Invitation Only) Disaster Resilient Cities: Forecasting local climate extremes and physical hazards for Kuala Lumpur
Principal Investigator: Hunt, Professor J C R
Other Investigators:
Haynes, Professor PH
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr MK Davey
Project Partners:
Department: Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Newton Fund
Starts: 03 January 2017 Ends: 02 November 2019 Value (£): 136,077
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Regional & Extreme Weather
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Recent natural disasters in Malaysia, such as the wide-spread floods in 2014/15 and the flash flooding of Kuala Lumpur in 2007, have revealed that improvements are required in the prediction of damaging natural hazards and in the capacity to manage the associated risks and consequences.

Appropriate to the theme of 'future cities', the focus of this project is the prediction and management of physical risks relevant to Kuala Lumpur, which is the Malaysian capital and the most populated city in Malaysia with around 8 million inhabitants. The particular hazards to be targetted in this project, that are common in Kuala Lumpur, are floods, landslides, sink holes, strong winds, urban heat and air pollution.

A consortium of 16 research and business partners from the UK and Malaysia has been assembled for this project. The basic strategy is to adapt and combine existing technologies to enhance hazard forecasting ability, and the main objective is to develop a prototype multi-hazard information platform suitable for communicating risks. The primary beneficiaries will be risk managers and decision-makers in Malaysian local government and the insurance sector.

The project objectives relate to the Malaysian Science to Action initiative, which has an aim of mobilising science for societal well-being.

The University of Cambridge (UoC) is the lead UK partner in the project, and its main role is in the meteorological forecasting package. As the UoC Principal Invesigator has particular expertise in urban hazard modelling and has had a leading role in assembling the consortium, UoC will also have a prominent role in the overall management of the whole project.

Within the meteorological workplans, the main task of UoC will be to assess long-range forecast capability for Malaysia and develop data-processing models with specific objectives for hazard risk outlooks. This is timely because the global long-range forecast systems developed by leading weather and climate centres now have demonstrable predictive skill on seasonal timescales, and have spatial resolution sufficient to represent important tropical meteorological processes relevant to the Malaysian sector. UoC will also contribute to the mesoscale weather modelling workpackage led by the Malaysian Meteorological Department.

Benefits of the project will include:

Improved information regarding the risks of occurrence of natural hazards will enable Malaysian local authorities to make better contingency plans to mitigate the effects of such hazards. This will in turn provide economic benefits and improve the quality of life for Malaysian citizens. Improved information about geophysical hazards will also aid the development of insurance services.

The hazard information system developed for Kuala Lumpur will have relevance to cities elsewhere in Malaysia and in the ASEAN region. There is scope for broadening commercial development of such systems, with benefit both to the commercial sector and to the future urban management of cities.

With regard to the UoC long-range meteorology component, the results of the skill investigation will be relevant to the wider seasonal prediction research community, both through the methodology used and as an example of the potential for beneficial application in the Asian region.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk