Thursday, September 29, 2022
Welcome to the Walker Update, bringing you up to speed with the latest developments from the Walker Institute and the wider climate science field. We’ve been busy with projects, building collaborative relationships and communicating our research – read on to find out more!


Save the date!
‘What Really Happened at COP27? Keeping the Conversation Going’ UoR Event, 1 December 1430-1630, Meadow Suite, Park House, UoR and online
Scroll down for details and to book

Image of the week: Drought threatened Iraqi marshes

As part of a UNEP project paid for by the Green Climate Fund we ran a three day learning lab for Iraqi government officials in Beirut to help develop the Iraq National Adaptation Plan. In the Arab region Iraq is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. To reduce carbon and costs we hosted the fully participatory event online from the University of Reading.   We worked in partnership with Wood plc and CCRM.  More on the project here and on UNEP website here.

Iraqi Government officials and scientists at the workshop

‘What really happened at COP27? Keeping the Conversation Going’
1 December 1430-1630, Meadow Suite, Park House, UoR and online
Following COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt this year we will hold a University wide hybrid event to review and assess the global climate conference and our next steps. Walker will be at COP27 in an official Observer capacity as well as running an exhibit and side shows in the ‘Blue Zone.’ (NB date has changed from previously advertised 30 November).  Book a place here.

Climate risk assessment needs urgent improvement!  Nature Communications publishes our paper

Critical paths for improving climate risk assessment.

The quality of climate risk assessment is critical to how we understand and tackle impacts.  A recently published paper written by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists identifies the main current practice short comings and steps to tackle them.  Written by a team from the Walker Institute, SMPCS and School of Law; Microsoft; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); and the University of Oxford, the paper is published in Nature Communications.  Read paper here.


Walker helps Ugandan farmers to make films for community centred advocacy
Communities can articulate their points of view better than outsiders. Walker Institute Interdisciplinary Research Fellow, Dr Grady Walker ran training workshops for farmers in Mukono, Uganda in visual storytelling using video. Participants then produced their own short films and used these as communication tools to further social justice, capacity building, and better governance for their communities.  See films and blog.

Stills from the Ugandan farmers’ films

Tackling climate risks to wetland archaeology and ecology. Partnering with Historic England, the National Trust. and the Climate Heritage Network, we brought together archaeologists and nature conservationists to plan how to adapt to future climate impacts at Wicken Fen wetland in Cambridgeshire in July. We were delighted to see our risk research framework supporting collaborative decision making, whilst paving the way to including wetland archaeology in the Wicken Fen Vision. Read more here.

Walker team including Elena Saggioro (top left) and partners planning for climate resilience at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire, July 2022

World Bank: Building West African capacity in meteorology and agricultural research and training

Funded by the World Bank, we are working with AGRHYMET, the West African Agriculture, Hydrology and Meteorology research centre based in Niamey, Niger, to support improvements in its interdisciplinary research, courses and capacity building.  We have benchmarked AGRHYMET’s work against World Bank, UN standards and the World Meteorology Organisation competency framework (for Climate Services Provision): interviewing staff, alumni and meteorology professionals to identify strengths and improvement opportunities.  We look forward to ongoing collaboration.

Artificial Intelligence and Climate Change Masters Course Underway


Walker Researcher Cathie Wells introduces the course

We have welcomed the first students to participate in our new Climate Change and Artificial Intelligence Masters course.  Currently the only postgraduate course of its kind in the UK it includes a complementary combination of disciplines – including from the Department of Meteorology, Department of Computer Science, the Walker Institute and the triple-accredited Henley Business School.  Professor Ted Shepherd, Walker’s Cathie Wells and Dr Harley Pope kicked off the course with a probability game, a look at the sources of uncertainty inherent in climate projections and a brief overview of correlation versus causation. Participants also set personal course goals, and debated the disparity between countries’ carbon footprints and their climate change vulnerability.  More here.

Coming Up!

Impacts of weather and climate extremes on the UK food chain workshop

13 and 20 January online, free. Walker is involved in this event as part of our contribution to the Met Office Academic Partnership Food Security group. The interactive and interdisciplinary workshop will bring together a broad community across academia, industry, policy, government, NGOs and beyond to scope the adaptation and policy responses needed, and the consequences.  Book here.

What happened across the world this week? 

Prof Virginia Murray and her team at Public Health England have produced the weekly Global Hazards Weekly Bulletin, archived by Prof Richard Allan.


All the best!

The Walker Institute Team