My first job was to work for the Netherlands Forestry Commission to analyse the hydrology of the Netherlands. This work was used to inform nature conservation policy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. After that I worked as a contractor at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington DC (USA) where I analysed global satellite vegetation data and extracted information that was used to study the role of vegetation in the climate system with global carbon cycle models and climate models. I continued research on the effect of climate on the biosphere and the global water and carbon cycles when I joined the Global Environmental Modelling and Earth Observation group in Swansea University (UK). At WWT my job is to find out what the implications of climate change are for our sites, so that we can adapt the management of our sites accordingly.
My current role is to investigate the potential impacts of climate change on WWT’s reserves. It is expected that summers in the UK will become drier, and at the same time winters are expected to become wetter and rainfall events more extreme. For several of our coastal sites we will have to adapt to the effects of sea-level rise. Climate change is also affecting ecosystems. The seasonality of vegetation is already changing, for example over the past 50 years oaks in temperate climates started to leaf out earlier by about 4 weeks. Some birds have changed migration patterns, arriving earlier in the UK, and the northern breeding grounds of our winter guests are warming rapidly. Sea levels have increased by 20-30 cm and are expected to rise faster in the future. My role is to assess these effects so we can plan ahead for a changing world.