Graduate’s undergraduate research showcased among the best in the country.

Posted on 2nd March 2016

A first class graduate from the University of Chester was one of only 40 from across the UK to have had his undergraduate research showcased at an event in Parliament.

Damon presented his research at the annual Posters in Parliament event.
Damon presented his research at the annual Posters in Parliament event.

Damon Waterworth, 21, who recently graduated with a BSc Geography, visited London to take part in the annual Posters in Parliament exhibition, which brings together a collection of the best undergraduate research from across the country.

Damon, who comes from Blackpool, was nominated by the Geography and International Development Department at the University, to represent Chester.

He talked about his research on the impact of land cover on Blackpool’s climate, which aimed to quantify heat stress and determine both the magnitude and characteristics of Blackpool’s urban heat island (UHI) – a term used to refer to the higher temperatures experienced in cities in comparison to rural areas.

 

Damon also wanted to investigate the effect of the sea breeze on the UHI and determine whether coastal towns saw any relief during high temperatures.

 

 

 

He collected a series of temperature, humidity and wind speed data and compared this with three heat indicators (WBGT, Humidex and Discomfort Index) in order to quantify heat stress.

His findings revealed that Blackpool had a strong UHI with a maximum intensity of 4.3°C, however the Irish Sea moderated coastal areas, cooling parts by up to 3°C in the afternoon, and warming nearby areas during the evening. The results also revealed a movement of the UHI landward during the afternoon but a westward progression towards sunset.

Damon said: “My findings also confirmed earlier research conducted by Steenveld et al (2011) which looked at the relationship with the UHI, land cover and human discomfort in Dutch cities. Blackpool has many similarities with Dutch cities- it’s densely populated, has a mild climate regime and low elevation, and so my study replicated aspects of Steeneveld's work in order to bridge the knowledge gap.

“I also incorporated a coastal element to my project in order to assess how the sea breeze interacts with the UHI. I felt this was an essential focus, as many of the world’s most populous cities are located on the coast, such as New York, Tokyo, Miami and Sydney and, therefore, the local climate is influenced by the sea breeze.

He added: “When considering both temperature and humidity, the benefits of green spaces were found to be limited during the afternoon. This goes against prior research advocating the ‘greening of cities’ to effectively mitigate against the UHI and so my research concluded that a more holistic approach should be taken in the future, looking at both mitigation and adaptation measures.

“I enjoyed the Posters in Parliament exhibition, as it gave me the chance to speak to a research-oriented audience and meet students from different universities across a range of disciplines, while also providing a great opportunity for undergraduates to establish networks and learn from other students’ research.

“The conference also gave me a confidence boost as I received positive feedback and I may have influenced future dissertation topics in my field.”

 

Damon is now working to publish his dissertation in Geoverse, an e-journal for Geography, and will be embarking on a Master’s degree later this year, where his work will focus on renewable energy and low carbon technologies, climate change and societal response, as well as environmental management strategies.