School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Elizabeth Lewis

Lecturer in Computational Hydrology


I am a lecturer in Computational Hydrology at Newcastle University and have been a researcher here since 2015. I am currently a Fellow of Newcastle Policy Academy and an Embedded researcher at the Environment Agency. My area of expertise are hydrological data, hydrological modelling and climate impacts.

I think that science communication is a key duty of a researcher and so I have tried to do a lot of it! Below are some links to outreach work that I have done:

BBC News: Storm chasers: The scientists trying to combat flooding  

The Conversation: Climate driven extreme weather is threatening old bridges

The Conversation: Storm Doris giving dangerous weahter a human name

The Naked Scientists podcast: The augmented reality sandpit

Centre for Life video: Meet the scientist

Newcastle University video: Meet the scientist

Newcastle University podcast: Meet the scientist

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7471-9988 

Google Scholar: Click here.

Researchgate: Click here.


PYRAMID: Platform for dYnamic, hyper-resolution, near-real time flood Risk AssessMent Integrating repurposed and novel Data sources

  • £1M NERC project led by Dr Elizabeth Lewis (PI: Prof Hayley Fowler)
  • Current flood risk assessments are based on static models. In PYRAMID we are building a dynamic flood modelling and data system.
  • It will be developed in conjunction with the Environment Agency, local authorities and community groups to ensure that it delivers relevant information for critical decision-making in near-real time
  • The platform will have toolkits to make it easy for communities to incorporate their data, providing essential local information.
  • A new flood component dataset will be created from novel and existing datastreams (such as old reports, flood asset registers, various types of satellite imagery, soil moisture, rainfall,  traffic and congestion. We can also monitor the condition of specific factors affecting flood risk, such as whether particular culverts are blocked or whether certain flood walls are in poor condition.)
  • We will assimilate the new dataset into cutting-edge, physically-based hydrological and hydrodynamic models ​
  • We will develop a web platform demonstrator to interrogate observations and model outputs, and visualise dynamic flood risk maps with (near) real-time updates. ​

OpenCLIM: Open CLimate IMpacts modelling framework

  • £2M NERC project led by Prof Robert Nicholls
  • Designed to support UK assessment of climate risks and adaptation needs, and future UK government Climate Change Risk Assessments, by developing and applying a first UK integrated assessment for climate impacts and adaptation.
  • Aims to develop an open, innovative and flexible platform to provide an improved capacity for the next CCRA and NAP.
  • The model will consider UK-wide climate impacts and adaptation in biodiversity, agriculture, infrastructure and urban areas, considering the impacts of flooding, heat stress and changing temperature and precipitation.
  • It will also consider two detailed case studies: (1) an urban analysis of Glasgow and environs (the Clyde); and (2) a more rural analysis of the Norfolk Broads and environs.
  • The platform will be designed to take the UKCP18 and new UK socioeconomic scenarios.

Legacy wastes in the coastal zone: Environmental risks and management futures​

  • £2M NERC project led by Dr Adam Jarvis
  • Taking a coordinated approach to comprehensively investigate the spatial extent, characteristics, and physical and biogeochemical behaviour of municipal and industrial legacy wastes, in order to then objectively evaluate both:​ a) the environmental risks and impacts of solid wastes in coastal zones, both now and in future climate change scenarios and​ b) the most appropriate management policies and interventions to address these risks.​
  • My role is to determine potential impacts of climate change on pollution risk due to legacy wastes using state-of-the-art hydrological modelling (WP3)

INTENSE (“INTElligent use of climate models for adaptatioN to non-Stationary hydrological Extremes”):

  • €2M ERC project led by Prof. Hayley Fowler, Newcastle University
  • Exploring drivers of change in extreme sub daily rainfall
  • Creating a global sub-daily rainfall dataset
  • Extensive quality control algorithms developed.
  • Incorporating information from satellite and radar
  • Set of global sub-daily rainfall indices developed
  • Improving high resolution climate models
  • Project partners include the UK Met office, Reading University, SMHI, IITGN, Washington University, NCAR , University of Adelaide, University of New South Wales, KNMI, Princeton University, GEWEX
SINATRA: Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding:
  • 5 year NERC funded programme led by Prof. Hannah Cloke (Reading) and Prof. Hayley Fowler (Newcastle)
  • Advancing scientific understanding of the processes determining the probability, incidence and impacts of Flooding from Intense Rainfall
  •  Extensive quality control of tipping bucket rain gauge data.
  • Development of gridded hourly rainfall dataset for the UK
  • Project partners include Bristol University, University of Stuttgart, CEH
Developing systems for rapid analysis of groundwater conceptualisations:
  • ESPRC Impact Acceleration Account, led by Dr Geoff Parkin (Newcastle University)
  • Using geological mapping software (Subsurface Viewer, GSI3D) to create conceptual groundwater models
  • Developing software to convert conceptual groundwater models into hydrological models
  • Developing software to visualise outputs from physically based hydrological models in GeoVisionary
  • Testing this workflow to examine groundwater flooding in Kilham, East Yorkshire
  • Project partners include the Environment Agency, BGS
Assessing flooding from multiple sources using a national scale modelling system:
  • Supervising a  PhD student (Ben Smith) funded through the DREAM DTC partnership
  • Improving the representation of geology within a physically based national modelling system using BGS national scale data
  • National scale assessment of the models ability to reproduce observed river flows and groundwater levels
  • Developing methodologies for identification of groundwater flooding from hydrographs.
  • Project partners include BGS, EA
A robust physically based hydrological model for Great Britain:
  • NERC funded PhD
  • Developing software, datasets and a modelling system for Great Britain
  • Using a physically based spatially distributed hydrological model (SHETRAN)
  • Developing a gridded hourly rainfall dataset
  • Extensive sensitivity testing of national modelling system
  • Assessment of model performance and relationship to catchment characteristics using affinity propagation clustering
  • Comparison to other national models
  • Climate change impact assessment using the UKCP09 weather generator
  • Improving the representation of groundwater within the framework
  • Project partners include BGS, EA, University of Zurich, University of Nottingham


  • >£20,000 NERC knowledge exchange fund for analysis and development of a gridded hourly rainfall dataset
  • £2000 NERC public engagement award for science communication around climate change and flooding
  • £2000 award for public engagement from the Great North Museum 


I am Deputy Degree Program Director for the Hydrology and Water Management MSc. I am module leader for CEG8501 Quantative Methods for Engineers on the water related Master's courses at Newcastle University. I also lecture on CEG8525 Hydrological Processes and Data Analysis and CEG8526 Hydrosystems Modelling and Management.