Kate Sambrook

Kate Sambrook is a research assistant in the University’s School of Earth and Environment; her research focuses on understanding how climate change affects extreme weather events. Kate worked with Virgin Atlantic to add to their understanding of how extreme weather events might affect flight operations.

Extreme weather events such as hurricanes and severe temperatures are increasing in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change. Powerful hurricanes and storm surges may increase weather-related delays, cancellations and maintenance costs for the aviation industry.

Drawing on existing literature and her own research and analysis, Kate produced a report for the sustainability team at Virgin Atlantic. The project was entitled ‘The impact of climate change on aviation’.

She applied four emissions scenarios or Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and considered the effect each RCP will have on extreme weather events in destinations in the Caribbean, the USA and Mexico.

Developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), RCPs are used in climate research to explore how humans will contribute to future climate change. Each RCP describes a different climate future, depending on future greenhouse gas emissions. They are used to anticipate the scientific and real‐world implications of climate change.

Kate conducted a meaningful analysis and her research showed that it is extremely difficult to translate predicted climate changes into weather events in specific regions, and hence make direct links to business operations. Her work provided an independent assessment of general climate and weather pattern changes in these geographic areas which are important for the aviation industry.

The project gave Kate valuable exposure to the aviation industry and the opportunity to compare her research findings to real world business strategy.

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