Adrian Champion

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Dr Adrian Champion

I am a Research Fellow within Exeter Climate Systems (College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences) at the University of Exeter. I am also a Part-Time Tutor for the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford, teaching courses on Climate Science. My research interests are the dynamical processes of the atmosphere in the extra-tropics and how they may change in a warming climate, with a focus on the impact of these events, e.g. flooding events and extreme windstorms.

Research Projects

Current Projects (University of Exeter)

Objective Counterfactual Analysis
An AXA XL funded project using new methods and datasets to identify North Atlantic Hurricanes and how that might affect the associated risk from these events. I am the PI on this project.

Robust Spatial Projections of Real World
A NERC funded large grant looking at the impacts of climate change and assessment of their robustness. My work will be focussed on European extra-tropical cyclones and how they may change in a warmer climate.

Previous Projects (University of Exeter)

Windstorm Precipitation Risk
A project working with Swiss Re-insurance looking at the risk of extreme precipitation associated with European windstorms. I was the PI on this project.

Previous Projects (University of Reading)

WISC - Wind Storm Climate Service
This project was funded through the Copernicus Climate Service to produce a windstorm information service spanning the most extensive time period to date (1900-2013) for use by the (re)insurance sector. Services included storm tracks, footprints, calibration and risk-loss maps. My work was to generate the storm tracks for all the identified storms in the period using a number of re-analysis datasets. I was also involved in the scoping of the project and meeting with the insurance sector to understand their needs. The data portal and more about the project can be found on the Copernicus Climate Change pages: WISC - Windstorm Information Service.

SINATRA - Susceptibility of catchments to INTense RAinfall and flooding
Funded through the NERC Flooding From Intense Rainfall programme (FFIR); a member of the Water@Reading group. My work looked at determining what the atmospheric precursors are for summer flash flooding events, initially looking at the role Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) may have on these events, however also looking at atmospheric moisture transport outside the AR definition.
Atmospheric Rivers do not explain UK Summer Extreme Rainfall, doi:10.1002/2014JD022863
Diagnosing links between atmospheric moisture and extreme daily precipitation over the UK, doi:10.1002/joc.4547
Synoptic-scale precursors of extreme UK summer 3-hourly rainfall, doi:10.1029/2018JD029664

DEMON - Developing Enhanced impact MOdels for integration with Next generation NWP and climate outputs
Funded via the NERC Storm Risk Mitigation programme (SRM). My research looked at how extreme precipitation events will change in a warming climate and the uncertainties associated with the projections, and to produce data for use in hydrological models for use by other members of the project. The project aims were to improve urban flood inundation modelling in a warmer climate.
Importance of resolution and model configuration when downscaling extreme precipitation, doi:10.3402/tellusa.v66.23993

XWS - eXtreme WindStorms database
A collaborative project between the University of Reading (NCAS), University of Exeter, the Met Office, Willis Re for use in academic research as well as other reinsurance companies (XWS). My research produced cyclone tracks for the biggest insurance loss producing events, whilst investigating how these relate to "meteorologically interesting" events, to determine whether there is a simple metric that correlates the two sets of events. The catalogue is available at
The XWS open access catalogue of extreme windstorms in Europe from 1979 to 2012, doi:10.5194/nhess-14-2487-2014

PhD (University of Reading)

I completed my PhD at the Environmental Systems Science Centre (ESSC), University of Reading, supervised by Kevin Hodges:

Extra-tropical cyclones have caused widespread disruption to the UK and Western Europe in recent years, with numerous examples of the precipitation associated with these events leading to pluvial and fluvial flooding. The prediction of these events, and any possible changes to their intensity and/or frequency, is extremely important to those who may be affected by such events. To accurately predict the location, and to gain realistic intensities, very high resolution models are required.

This study has looked at how to gain high spatial and temporal information on precipitation associated with extra-tropical cyclones, to be potentially used in hydrology models, so the effect of a warmer climate on events that may be flood producing can be investigated. The use of a Limited Area Model (LAM) to dynamically downscale precipitation associated with extra-tropical cyclones, identified in a high resolution Global Climate Model (GCM), is assessed with the aim of gaining more realistic extreme precipitation associated with the cyclones. The effect of a warmer climate, and the impact of an increase in horizontal resolution, on the GCM precipitation from extra-tropical cyclones is also investigated.

The results from the GCM study show an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme precipitation events associated with extra-tropical cyclones, due both to a warming climate and also due to an increase in horizontal resolution of the GCM, highlighting the need to downscale this information. The LAM evaluation shows that the model is capable of producing realistic precipitation estimates of intense precipitation events, under certain simulation criteria. The downscaling assessment highlighted some issues with the selection criteria but showed that it was a suitable method for downscaling precipitation from extra-tropical cyclones to obtain more realistic precipitation intensities that can be used as the inputs to hydrological models.

A full copy of my thesis, and my published papers can be found here.


Submitted Papers

Alla, R.P., Blenkinsop, S., Fowler, H.J., Champion, A.J. (sub): Atmospheric precursors for intense summer rainfall over the UK. Int. J. Clim.

Catto, J.L., Ackerley, D., Booth, J., Champion, A.J., Colle, B., Pfahl, S., Pinto, J.G., Quinting, J., Seiler, C. (sub): The Future of Mid-Latitude Cyclones. Current Climate Change Reports.

Published Papers

Champion, A.J., Blenkinsop, S., Li, X.-F., Fowler, H.J. (2019): Synoptic-scale precursors of extreme UK summer 3-hourly rainfall. JGR-Atmospheres, 124, 4477-4489,

Flack, D.L.A, Skinner, C.J., Hawkness-Smith, L., O'Donnell, G., Thompson, R.J., Waller, J.A., Chen, A.S., Moloney, J., Largeron, C., Xia, X., Blenkinsop, S., Champion, A.J., Perks, M.T., Quinn, N., Speight, L.J. (2019): Recommendations for Improving Integration in National End-to-End Flood Forecasting Systems: An Overview of the FFIR (Flooding From Intense Rainfall) Programme. Water, 11, 725, doi:10.3390/w11040725.

Allan, R.P., Lavers, D.L., Champion, A.J. (2015): Diagnosing links between atmospheric moisture and extreme daily precipitation over the UK. Int. J. Clim., 36: 3191-3206, doi:10.1002/joc.4547.

Champion, A.J., Allan, R.P., Lavers, D.L. (2015): Atmospheric Rivers do not explain UK Summer Extreme Rainfall. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 120 (14), 6371-6741, doi:10.1002/2014JD022863.

Roberts, J.K., Champion, A.J., Dawkins, L., Hodges, K.I., Shaffrey, L., Stephenson, D.B., Stringer, M.A., Thornton, H.E., Youngman, B.D. (2014): The XWS open access catalogue of extreme windstorms in Europe from 1979 to 2012. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2487-2501, doi:10.5194/nhess-14-2487-2014.

Champion, A.J. and Hodges, K.I. (2014): Importance of resolution and model configuration when downscaling extreme precipitation. Tellus 66A, 23993, doi:10.3402/tellusa.v66.23993.

Champion, A.J., Hodges, K.I., Bengtsson, L.O., Keenlyside, N., Esch, M. (2011): Impact of increasing resolution and a warmer climate on extreme weather from northern hemisphere extra-tropical cyclones. Tellus 63A, 893-905, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0870.2011.00538.x.

Champion, A., Hodges, K., Bengtsson, L. (2010): Extreme precipitation and climate change: the potential impacts on flooding, in Proceedings of the BHS Third International Symposium, Managing the Consequences of a Changing Global Environment, 19-23 July, 2010, Newcastle University: British Hydrological Society.

PhD Thesis

Champion, A.J. (2012): Extreme Precipitation and Extra-Tropical Cyclones: A Dynamical Downscaling Study. PhD. Thesis. University of Reading: U.K.
Thesis.pdf (130.96MB)

Chapters 1 & 2: Introduction & Theory. Chapter1_2.pdf (32.95MB)
Chapter 3: Models and Tools. Chapter3.pdf (1.19MB)
Chapter 4: Extra-Tropical Cyclones in a Global Climate Model. Chapter4.pdf (85.41MB)
Chapter 5: Evaluation of Limited Area Model. Chapter5.pdf (26.22MB)
Chapter 6: Dynamical Downscaling of Extra-Tropical Cyclones. Chapter6.pdf (56.4MB)
Chapter 7: Conclusions & References. Chapter7.pdf (0.14MB)


Champion, A.J. (2008): Properties of Ensemble Forecasts from Different Weather Centres. Master`s Thesis, University of Reading: U.K. (not peer-reviewed). MScDissertation.pdf (39.16MB)


FISA Umpire
Multi-Lane Endorsed British Rowing Umpire

I am a FISA/World Rowing and a British Rowing multi-lane endorsed umpire currently based in the West of England ARA. I am also the Head Coach of the Senior Women's Squad at Exeter Rowing Club.

Coaching Positions

Exeter Rowing Club 2018 - present
Head Coach Senior Women's Squad 2018 - present
Coach Intermediate Squad 2018

Exeter University Boat Club 2017
Coach 2017

Reading Rowing Club 2008 - 2016
Head Coach Senior Women's Squad 2015 - 2016
Head Coach Senior Men's Squad 2013 - 2014
Coach Senior Men's Squad 2011 - 2014
Head Coach Senior Women's Squad 2010 - 2011
Lead Coach Senior Women's Intermediate Squad 2009 - 2010
Coach Senior Women's Squad 2008 - 2011

Corpus Christi Boat Club, Oxford University 2015 - 2016
Guest Coach Women's Squad 2015 - 2016

Green Templeton Boat Club, Oxford University 2013 - 2016
Guest Coach Women's Squad 2013 - 2016

Thames Rowing Club 2007 - 2008
Coach Novice Women's Squad 2007 - 2008

Grey College Boat Club, Durham University 2003 - 2007
Head Coach 2004 - 2007
Coach Women's Squad 2003 - 2007

Qualifications & Awards

FISA International Umpire 2018
British Rowing Multi-Lane Umpiring Endorsement 2014
British Rowing Safe and Strong Trunks 2012
British Rowing Safeguarding Children Workshop 2012
Sports Coach UK Analysing Your Coaching 2010
Sports Coach UK Positive Behaviour Management in Sport 2010
Grey College JCR, Durham University Honorary Life Member of Grey College, Durham University for services to rowing. 2007
Grey College JCR, Durham University College Colours, services to rowing. 2007
British Rowing British Rowing Instructor's Award 2006
British Rowing National Umpire 2006
Abingdon School Full Colours 2003