Experts to study climate change
The University of Leicester has launched a new centre for scientists to study climate change.
Researchers will measure the effects of climate change on ecosystems and landscapes around the world as well as assessing the impacts of severe droughts and flooding.
Satellite data will help them analyse the effects of deforestation and other ecological changes caused by humans.
They will also observe the moisture content of soil to help predict where drought could take place.
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The new centre for landscape and climate research will be located in the refurbished Bennett Building and will include a new dedicated lab for lecturers and PhD students to work on related projects.
Centre director Professor Heiko Balzter, from the university's geography department, said: "I hope to provide a research focus that brings together physical scientists, geologists, climate scientists, ecologists, hydrologists, social scientists, computer scientists and mathematicians.
"The problem we are studying is very complex and needs experts from a wide range of disciplines to understand it.
"How rainfall, soil moisture and water resources change in space and time is a fascinating subject.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to conduct research in this field."
The researchers will investigate global trends and local issues.
They hope any recommendations they make as a result of their research will influence policy-makers including local authorities and the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Historical satellite data from up to 30 years will also enable scientists to see what changes have taken place.
Dr Virginia Nicolás-Perea, research manager for the centre, said: "Researching the water cycle is very important because it affects our way of life.
"There have been a lot of problems with droughts and flooding recently. This summer has been one of the wettest ever, and last winter was one of the driest winters ever.
"We've noticed a gap in research on the water cycle, and wanted to have the opportunity to use the satellite data to monitor climate effects – not just here in Leicester but everywhere in the world."