Professor of Glaciology, Faculty of Science, University of Bristol
High-performance computing and data science are helping Bristol’s geographical scientists take models of the environment to a new level.
More powerful computing and the vast and ever-growing quantities of data generated by digital devices herald a new era for environmental research.
With 70% of all data having geographical dimensions, high-performance computer analysis can increasingly be used to gain a better understanding of issues such as global warming, flood risk, sea-level rise, air and water pollution and urban development.
The University of Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences is a leading centre for environmental research, with extensive experience of using digital technologies and data science techniques (such as climate modelling and satellite image analysis) to address the latest scientific questions.
Tony Payne, Professor of Glaciology in the School, notes that this revolution in quantitative geography has come with a growing demand from employers for graduates with specialist skills, including programming, data visualisation and software development. From October 2022, the School is launching two new MSc courses in Environmental Modelling and Data Analysis; and Geographical Data Science and Spatial Analytics to help meet this need.
“To understand and address today’s global environmental challenges, you need to have advanced data analytical and modelling tools to help predict, forecast and tailor responses,” says Professor Payne. “Increasingly, we are using these tools to help us understand how we can adapt to and mitigate environmental change.”
To understand and address today’s global environmental challenges, you need to have advanced data analytical and modelling tools to help predict, forecast and tailor responses.
These data driven studies are supported by Bristol’s Advanced Computing Research Centre, which gives all students access to high-performance and cloud computing.
As a formal Met Office Academic Partner and close collaborator with the Environment Agency and the insurance industry, the Schoolschool is continuing to push forward with models, projections and simulations that will benefit a range of sectors.