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The Discipline of Geography and Ryan Institute is delighted to invite you to the half day symposium “Extreme Weather Events: Physical and Social Impacts” which will be held in NUI Galway on June 28th, 2017. We have 3 leading international scholars participating + 2 talks from colleagues based in NUI Galway and Maynooth University. 

LOCATION/DATE:  NUI GALWAY / Wednesday June 28 

Lecture Hall 1, CA111, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway (Building #22 on map)
(Old St Anthony Church By Friars)


 13:00-14:00. Meet and Greet including light lunch

 14:00 – 18:00. Series of seminars (30 minutes each)

  1. Keynote. Prof Alan Haywood, University of Leeds, UK; Approaches and challenges in modelling extreme events in past climate states
  2. Dr Conor Murphy, Maynooth University; Hydro-climatic extremes from 1700 to present: data rescue, reanalysis and documentary sources

 Coffee break (15 mins)

 3. Dr Christy Swann, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, USA; Coastal Storm Events: Field observations of fluid flow, sediment transport and morphodynamics in the nearshore

4. Prof Michael Hartnett, NUI Galway; Modelling storm surges and coastal urban flooding

 Coffee break (15 mins)

 5. Dr David Serrano Giné; Rovira i Virgili University, Spain; Assessing social carrying capacity of vulnerable coastlines

 6. Panel Discussion on Research Opportunities and Research Directions

 18:00-19:30.  Reception


[Please note that the organisers are offering  places for students (travel + accommodation) and early career staff to travel, via public transport within the island of Ireland, to NUIG for the event. This will be a competitive application process. Reimbursements can be received by submitting a Travel & Expenses Claim Form, receipts and a copy of student/staff ID to the symposium organisers Dr Eugene Farrell ( or Dr Audrey Morley (]


 (i) International collaborations: The diverse range of invited guest speakers for the proposed conference aims to improve the international scope of Irish Climate Change Research. To establish emerging international collaborations we are planning to provide a formal (conference) and informal setting (Reception and conference dinner) to discuss research ideas and future projects. 

 (ii) Interdisciplinary Research Opportunities: The science and impacts of climate change can only be understood using an interdisciplinary research approach merging Atmospheric Sciences, Oceanography, Climate modelling, Engineering, and Coastal Geomorphology with Social Scientific research. The expertise of invited speakers was specifically chosen to encourage cross disciplinary dialogues and to ignite new ideas for future research collaborations across NUI Galway, Ireland, and beyond.

 (iii) Postgraduate student research and networking opportunities: For the next generation of climate scientists it is crucial to be able to exchange ideas and be exposed to state of the Art Research in their area of research. To provide NUI Galway post-graduate students with an opportunity to engage with the invited speakers they will be invited to participate in the reception following the conference. We anticipate that the reception following the formal conference setting will also allow post-graduate students across colleges and disciplines to discuss ideas and engage in interdisciplinary discussions on their research.


Research Scientists, Policy makers, and Post-Graduate Students. Ireland’s identity is intertwined with the coastal and marine environment and we need to engage in an interdisciplinary discourse to address the physical and social impacts of a changing climate. Truly innovative interdisciplinary research requires formal and informal discussions to assess the potential for future collaborative work. It is invaluable for post-graduate students to be included in these discussions providing them with the opportunity to participate in a scientific meeting. Ireland needs skilled personnel, who can advise on, organise and regulate an informed development of coastal, marine and climate resources and activities in Ireland, the European Union and worldwide. This conference will be part of the process of preparing and upskilling postgraduate students for that role. The workshop will provide a forum within which students can interact directly with a range of national and international professional and expert practitioners and gain exposure to key experts, networks and important contacts in academia and beyond.  This will enhance the reputation and profile of our students, their employability and future scholarly success, as well as their ability to contribute to creating change in a challenging contemporary society.

 The Wider Marine Sector. As scientists, managers, and planners, we need promote a cultural shift from disaster management based on response towards a strategic approach that emphasizes a focus on prevention, adaptation and mitigation to build societal and economic resilience. This can only be done using evidence-based decision making. We do not yet have sufficient data from the past environmental response to natural hazards. Without fully understanding the drivers of change in our environmental systems (Coasts, Marine, Atmosphere, rivers, catchments, peatlands) any long term management strategies may be ineffective, especially in practice. Irish landscapes are highly complex and dynamic systems and it is essential to understand system processes and their interactions in order to fully assess risk. Our coastal and marine environments are particularly vulnerable e.g., clusters of winter storms. Without scientific understanding linking cause and effect with any degree of confidence becomes imprudent, at best. We are entering a tipping point in Earth history due to human activities that are increasing the risks of abrupt and irreversible changes to our environmental systems.  To miss the opportunity of benchmarking how these systems are responding to current extreme events  such as the 2014 coastal storms and those that will occur over the next decade, is a  potentially a very costly decision. Action now will greatly reduce uncertainties in our understanding of the response of the Irish landscape to climate change impacts. The proposed conference on extreme weather events organized by Drs. Morley and Farrell provide the forum for researchers to collaborate and share resources to identify and address these problems.

 DIRECTIONS & PARKING: An NUIG campus map shows the location of the Cairnes Building; a free one day parking pass can be requested through the symposium organisers.

Please do not hesitate to contact either Dr Eugene Farrell ( or Dr Audrey Morley ( if you have any queries.