Dr David Milan will be using state-of-the-art technology to help understand the legacy of devastating flooding in one of the world’s most important game reserves.

Dr Milan, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Gloucestershire’s School of Natural and Social Science, has secured a Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) Urgency Grant to undertake research into the impacts of the Cyclone Dando floods upon dryland rivers in South Africa.

Widespread heavy rainfall and catastrophic flooding hit the Kruger National Park, in January this year. The grant will fund state-of-the-art LiDAR flights, that will survey changes that have taken place to the river channel, and allow the research team to determine the age of old river sediment exposed by the flood through erosion. LiDAR is a laser scanner that can be used to map the Earth’s surface to a high precision.

Dr Milan leads a collaborative research team from the University of Aberystwyth (Dr Stephen Tooth) and University of Salford (Dr George Heritage). The project will also develop links in South Africa with the University of Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, and South Africa National Parks. The team will visit the Kruger Park in mid-May, to undertake fieldwork to survey the effects of the flood, and retrieve sediment samples for Optical Luminescence Dating.

Dr Milan said: “There are only a limited number of studies on dryland rivers, so this funding provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to improve current knowledge about these systems. Through comparing the new LiDAR imagery with previous surveys undertaken before the floods, a very detailed assessment of channel response may be made. The new data obtained will be used to develop hydraulic models that will simulate how the rivers respond to rare flood events over a variety of timescales”

Source: University of Gloucestershire