Global Challenges Academy

Staff Profile

Professor Hayley Fowler

Professor of Climate Change Impacts


Hayley Fowler is Professor of Climate Change Impacts in the Water Resource Systems Engineering Group in the School of Engineering.


Hayley Fowler is a hydroclimatologist with >15 years of experience in analysing the impacts of climate change and variability on hydrological systems and has published more than 90 ISI-cited articles since 2000. She held a NERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2006-10) examining the links between atmospheric circulation patterns, extreme rainfall and flooding, was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize (2011), Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2014) and made a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2018. She specialises in the analysis of the impacts of climate change and variability on hydrological and water resource systems, examining recent trends in extremes and future projections and their impacts on flood and drought risks. She has been instrumental in the analysis of climate model outputs and development of new downscaling techniques to bridge the gap between modellers and users of climate information (e.g. UKCP09 Weather Generator). She led the HYDRO sub-project of the AquaTerra FP6 Integrated Project from 2004-09 with a budget of €1M. She leads other funded research on extremes e.g. CONVEX (NERC CWC, 2011-14, PI) and FUTURE-STORMS (NERC, 2018-2021) develop high-resolution regional climate models to understand convective rainfall processes. Her ERC Consolidator's Award (INTENSE, €2M, 2014-2020) examines changes to sub-daily rainfall extremes around the globe. She collaborates widely, particularly with NCAR, US, where she has held a number of visiting scientist positions.


Hayley did a BA in Geography at Cambridge University (1996) before moving to Newcastle University for an MSc in Water Resource Systems Engineering (1997) and PhD in climate change impacts on water resources (2000), staying at Newcastle for her post-doctoral training.

Roles and Responsibilities

Hayley is the Director of the ONE Planet NERC Doctoral Training Programme, a Member of University Promotions Committee (2018-), a key Member of University NERC demand management panel, a Member of the University Public Lectures Committee (2017-) and a Member of the School of Engineering REF 2021 Strategy Committee (2017-).

She led the group's contribution to the British Science Festival which was held in Newcastle in Sep 2013. She sat on School Executive Committee and one of the REF2013 impact case-study panels. She acts as a Career Pathways Review Adviser and a mentor for Research Staff in SAgE. She is MSc selector for the group's MSc programmes.

She is on the International Advisory Board of WIRES Water.

She has bee Chief Editor of the international journal Frontiers in Interdisciplinary Climate Studies since 2017 after serving as an Associate Editor since 2013. She is also on the Editorial Board of Climate Risk Management and an Associate Editor of PLOS ONE.


Elected Member of British Hydrological Society main committee, 2004-2007
Honorary Secretary of the British Hydrological Society, 2006-2008
Member of  British Hydrological Society (1997-)
Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2018); Member of American Geophysical Union (2005-)

Member of European Geosciences Union (2014-)

Member of Newton Prize Reviewer Panel (2017-)

Member of Newton International Fellowships Committee: Physical Sciences, Royal Society (2017-)

Member of AGU Hydrologic Sciences Award Committee (2017-)

Member of NERC Peer Review College (2010–), Core panel member of NERC Panel C (now B) (2013-)

Member of UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships (UKRI FLF) programme Peer Review College (2018-)

Member of BSI committee B/505/21/11 Climate change, rainfall maps (2014-present)

Industrial Experience 

Hayley has experience of working with industry through consultancy contracts over the past 10 years covering climate change impact assessments, flood and drought risks, water resource modelling etc for: Royal Haskoning, WRc, Northumbrian Water Ltd, Willis Re., Environment Agency, CH2MHill.

She was also involved in the development of the UKCP09 Weather Generator for DEFRA.  


Hayley has been involved in many outreach activities including media interviews (print, radio and TV), public lectures, schools' events, 6th form debates, cafe scientifique talks and has been consulted on the development of TV programmes on extreme weather and climate change.

She gave the Joseph Lister Award lecture at the 2013 British Science Festival in Newcastle - What is happening to our weather?



Research Interests

Hayley has more than 15 years experience analysing the impacts of climate change and variability on hydrological systems and has published more than 90 ISI-cited articles since 2000. She has a large research group - currently 7 post-docs and 5 PhD students.

She specialises in the analysis of the impacts of climate change and variability on hydrological and water resources systems, in particular examining recent trends in extremes and future projections and their impacts on flood and drought risks. She has also been instrumental in the analysis of climate model outputs and the development of new downscaling techniques, in particular the use of probabilistic methods and weather or rainfall generators, to bridge the gap between climate modellers and users of climate information.

Her current funded research includes four main themes:

i) improving projections of extreme rainfall change by developing high-resolution regional climate models to understand convective processes;

ii) examining climatic changes in the Karakoram Himalaya and their impacts on hydrology and water resources;

iii) producing new downscaling methods to enable improved climate information services for Europe; and

iv) developing web-based tools to allow downscaling methods to be used for climate change impact assessments outside academia.

Recent Invited Presentations

  1. Fowler H.J. 2014. Challenges for RCM evaluation and application when moving to high resolutions. Invited Keynote at: 21st Century Challenges in Regional Climate Modelling, Lund, Sweden, 16-19 June 2014.

  2. Fowler H.J., 2013.  What is happening to our weather? The Joseph Lister Award Lecture 2013, British Science Festival, 11th September 2013, Newcastle upon Tyne.

  3. Fowler, H.J. Quantifying robust changes to extreme rainfall under global warming. Invited seminar at RMS-BHS meeting “Impacts of changes in the hydrological cycle”. Reading University, 19th June 2013.

  4. Fowler, H.J. Quantifying robust changes to extreme rainfall under global warming. Invited seminar at GFZ, Potsdam, Germany, 21st May 2013.

  5. Fowler, H.J. Quantifying robust changes to extreme rainfall under global warming. Invited seminar in the Dean’s seminar series, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 5th April 2013
  6. Fowler, H.J. Quantifying robust changes in extreme rainfall: recent advances in downscaling techniques for hydrological extremes. Invited Seminar at Durham University Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, 15th October 2012.
  7. Fowler, H.J. Quantifying Robust Changes in Extreme Precipitation. Invited talk atQuantifying robust changes in the water cycle on large scales”, Reading University, 26th-28th June 2012.
  8. Fowler, H.J. Linking climate change modelling to impacts studies: recent advances in downscaling techniques for hydrological extremes. Invited talk at CMOS-AMS Congress 2012, Montreal, Canada, 30th May 2012.
  9. Forsythe, N.D., Fowler, H.J. Assessment of cryosphere response to climate forcing in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) & Hindu Kush/Karakoram/Himalaya (HKH). Invited Keynote to the International symposium on Cryosphere and Climate Change (ISCCC-2012) at Manali (India), 2-4 April 2012.  
  10. Fowler, H.J. New developments of a weather generator downscaling approach and its application to climate change impact studies for water resources management. Invited seminar to IMAGe, NCAR, US, 16th February 2011.
  11. Fowler, H.J. Climate change in the North-East. NE 3rd Climate Change Conference,
    Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, 5th June 2010.

Fellowships and other Prizes

Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2018)

Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellow (2014-2019)

ERC Consolidators Award (2014-2019)

British Science Association Joseph Lister Award Lecture (2012/2013)

Philip Leverhulme Prize (2011)

NERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2006-10)

PhD Students


2004-2009: Andrew Smith: A national scale rainfall analysis and event-based model of extremes for the UK

2007-2011: Jamie Ledingham: The estimation of flood frequency curves by mapping from rainfall frequency curves

2008-2012: Mari Jones: Characterising and modelling time-varying rainfall extremes and their climatic drivers. 

2008-2013:   Nathan Forsythe: Investigating the impact of climate change on hydro-climatological variability and water resources in the Upper Indus Basin.

2007-2014:   Vesna Tripkovic: Quantifying and upscaling surface and subsurface runoff and nutrient flows under climate variability.

2009-2014:   Selma De Brito Guerreiro: Water Resources and Drought in International Iberian River Basins Under Future Climates

2012-2013:     (MPhil) Sam Cawthorne-Kitching: Understanding weather patterns, climate variation and change across Northumberland National Park

2007-2017:   Alex Leathard: A Water Grid for the UK

2011-2016:   Elizabeth Lewis: A robust multi-purpose hydrological model for Great Britain

2014-2018:     Doug Richardson: The predictability of UK drought using European weather patterns

2015-2018:     David Pritchard: Evaluation of climate and hydrological models for impact projections in the Upper Indus Basin

Current (start date) 

2014:     Motasem Darwish: Regional statistical modelling of hourly extreme precipitation in the United Kingdom (submitted, awaiting viva)

2015:     Ben Smith: Modelling flooding from multiple sources using coupled models and multi-scale high-resolution datasets

2017:     Tessa Gough: Can citizen science observations improve real-time flood risk assessment - bringing the crowd to the cloud?

2018:    Roberto Villalobos-Herrera:   Computer modelling of sustainable urban drainage systems' current and future hydrologic and hydraulic performance.


Reviewer for: NSF, CFCAS, NERC, EPSRC, Irish EPA, IPCC AR4 (WGI and WGII), Swiss National Science Foundation, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, LWEC.

Reviewer for >30 journals.

 Invited External Reviewer for CH2018 (Swiss Climate Change Scenarios) Report

Expert reviewer for IPCC Working Group I 4th Assessment Report

Expert reviewer for IPCC Working Group II 4th Assessment Report

Reviewed reports for: U.S. Environment Protection Agency, LWEC Climate Change Impacts report card for Water and Biodiversity, 2012-13, 2015-16;


IMAGe Theme of the Year 2012, NCAR - Uncertainty in Climate Change Research: An Integrated Approach (budget $125K); 31 participants in summer school/workshop.

ASP Summer Colloquium 2014, NCAR, Boulder, US: Uncertainty in Climate Research: An Integrated Approach; 38 participants in summer school/workshop.


Selected Recent Research Grants 

  1. CLOKE et al. (2016-2018) TENDERLY: Towards  END-to  End  flood  forecasting  and  a  tool  for  ReaL-time  catchment susceptibility. NERC FFIR, FOWLER PI at Newcastle, £371,257.
  2. DAWSON et al. (2016-2017) STRAIN: Storm Risk Assessment of Interdependent Infrastructure Networks. NERC Environmental Risks to Infrastructure, Co-I, £160,668.
  3. FOWLER (2015-2017) CL10 - Rainfall Intensity for Sewer Design (Phase I and II). UK Water Industry Research, Co-I, £26,000.
  4. FOWLER (2015-2016) Harnessing climate data and remote sensing products to promote community-led innovation in adaptive natural resource management for improved food security in the changing climate of the Kumaon Lesser Himalaya. British Council, PI, £18,990.
  5. FOWLER (2014-2019) INTENSE: INTElligent use of climate models for adaptatioN to non-Stationary hydrological Extremes. European Research Council Consolidators Grant. £1,661,790.
  6. CLOKE et al. (2013-2016) SINATRA: Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding. £2.7M. NERC Flooding From Intense Rainfall. FOWLER PI at Newcastle. £846,013.
  7. FOWLER (2012-2014) Philip Leverhulme Prize. £70,000.
  8. FOWLER et al. (2011-2014) CONVEX: Using Observational Evidence and Process Understanding to Improve Predictions of Extreme Rainfall Change. £415,632. NERC Changing Water Cycle
  9. VAN OSS et al. (2011-2014) ECLISE: Enabling CLimate Information Services for Europe. FOWLER PI at Newcastle. £180,357. EU FP7.
  10. HALL et al. (2008-2013) Earth systems engineering: sustainable systems engineering for adapting to global change. £1,312,129. EPSRC Platform Grant (FOWLER Co-I).
  11. FOWLER et al. (2008-2011) SWERVE: Severe Weather Events Risk and Vulnerability Estimator. £558,445. Part of the EPSRC Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Programme.
  12. KILSBY et al. (2007-2010) UKCP09 Weather Generator. £185,840. DEFRA. FOWLER Co-I.
  13. KILSBY et al. (2007-2010) FRACAS: a next generation national Flood Risk Assessment under climate ChAnge Scenarios. £204,382. Part of the NERC FREE programme. FOWLER Co-I.
  14. FOWLER (2006-2010) Is flood risk increasing? Exploring the relationship between atmospheric circulation, extreme rainfall and flooding. £221,711. NERC Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.
  15. GRATHWOHL et al. (2004-2009) AquaTerra “Integrated modelling of the river-sediment-soil-groundwater system; advanced tools for the management of catchment areas and river basins in the context of global change”. FP6 IP (€13M); FOWLER PI at Newcastle (£250,000) and led HYDRO sub-project (budget €1M) 



Module Leader 

CEG8505: Climate Change: Earth Systems, Future Scenarios and Threats

CEG8514: Climate Change: Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation 

Contributions to:

CEG2001: Design of Sustainable Engineering Systems 2

CEG8524: Water Management: Issues and Challenges 

CEG8526: Hydrosystems Modelling and Management