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Dr Linda Speight

Linda Speight
  • FATHUM project researcher focusing on application of forecasting science to support decision making
  • Co-I SHEAR Integration and Impact project 'Learning from Cyclone Idai and Kenneth: Presenting and using flood forecast information to support humanitarian response'

Areas of interest

  • Impact-based flood forecasting to support end-to-end decision making
  • Ensemble hydrometeorological forecasting
  • Forecast-based Financing / Forecast-based Action
  • Surface water flood forecasting particularly in urban areas
  • Communication of probabilistic forecasts, risk and uncertainty
  • Bridging the gap between science and practice

Research centres and groups

Water @ Reading


Linda Speight is a hydrometeorologist with a particular interest in developing effective solutions to communicate uncertainty to support decision making. Working at the interface between research and practice she has academic, consultancy and operational experience.

She is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the FATHUM project, funded by NERC / DfID's Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) programme. The FATHUM project undertakes interdisciplinary research to strengthen forecast-based humanitarian action internationally.

Previously she was based in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading where she conducted a policy and practice review of the NERC-funded Flooding from Intense Rainfall (FFIR) programme, interviewing subject matter experts to bring together the technical developments and identify recommendations for changes in policy, practice and further research for flood forecasting.

Prior to joining the University of Reading, Linda was a Senior Scientist at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and an operational forecaster for the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, an operational partnership between SEPA the and the UK Met Office.

She was the SEPA project lead for a project to develop a surface water forecasting system for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which combined probabilistic numerical weather prediction with hydrological modelling and flood risk and impact assessment. This project was subsequently awarded the Royal Meteorological Society Innovation Prize in 2018. Linda has recently completed an independent review of surface water forecasting capabilities for SEPA.

Her technical skills include systems-based flood risk modelling, and statistical analysis of dependence in extreme events developed as part of her PhD from Newcastle University (2013) to help improve understanding of spatial and temporal dependencies in flood risk for the insurance industry.

Linda has also held associate lecturing positions at the University of Lincoln and the University of Portsmouth. Linda began her career as a flood risk analyst at JBA Consulting after completing an MSc at the University of Newcastle in 2008.


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