The hydrological function of organo-mineral soils in downstream flood risk
Organo-mineral soils (aka shallow peaty soils) cover around 20 % of the UK, and are particularly common in upland areas with the main types being stagnohumic gleys and acid brown earths. Unlike peatlands, the function and hydrology of organo-mineral soils is globally very poorly understood with major gaps in the literature. These soils typically underlie upland heathland and grasslands in areas with high conservation value, which often also support pastoral farming. It is unclear whether these soils are dominated by throughflow (and what their typical permeability range is), infiltration-excess overland flow or saturation-excess overland flow in different topographic contexts and rainfall events. It is also unclear how management of organo-mineral soils impacts their role in runoff generation.
This PhD will provide empirical evidence of organo-mineral soil hydrology in relation to its land management/cover in the Lake District, UK, and use that data to support modelling for flood risk using the fully distributed TOPMODEL.
- Measurement of overland flow velocity for different slope angles, flow depths and vegetation (surface roughness) types
- Empirical measurement of dominant flow pathways and soil characteristics related to hydrology for differently-managed upland grazing/vegetation scenarios.
- Using empirical data collected to model, using the Distributed TOPMODEL, the role of spatial organo-mineral land cover-scenarios in reducing downstream flow peaks.
Jean Johnston (Natural England)
Alistair Crowle (Natural England)
Cluster & research affiliations
NERC Industrial CASE studentship with Natural England
- MPhil ‘Assessing the fate of metaldehyde applied to arable soils’
- BSc (Hons) Geography, University of Leicester
Research groups and institutes
- River Basin Processes and Management