Environmental change, adaptation and resilience

BGS Research

Environmental change

We are exposed to substantial environmental changes, such as population growth and land use change. We need to:

  • adapt to these changes in order to help reduce the vulnerability of social human and biological systems to them
  • protect our resources, including water, soil and energy
  • build resilience — that is, the capacity of the environment to respond to a disturbance by resisting damage and recovering quickly.
  • Coupled interacting pressure: initiating studies of the interaction of different pressure regimes through environmental systems using traditional BGS science areas and newer forms of monitoring and modelling.
  • Urbanisation: developing a ‘whole systems’ approach to the use, management and exploitation of the urban subsurface.
  • Rural land use: understanding pollutant inputs, behaviour and trends at multiple scales in rural areas by maintaining our catchment observatories.
  • Water resources: monitoring the changes in groundwater resource availability in response to environmental pressures and supporting development of a UK water resource management strategy.
  • Industry: monitoring groundwater for legacy and emerging contaminants derived from industrial development to identify pollutants and their behaviour in the subsurface.
  • Sea floor: developing the SubMarine project to advance UK capability in maximising the submarine geological environment.
  • Coasts and estuaries: assessing changes and adaptation options in coasts and estuaries and delivering solutions to build coastal resilient places.
  • Soils and landscapes: mapping differing rates of erosion, loss of macronutrients and biodiversity.
  • Urban resilience: assessing the subsurface for water quality/ quantity, waste management and the development of resilient railways, roads, pipelines and tunnel infrastructure.
  • Groundwater and aquifer resilience: improving the assessment of groundwater vulnerability, risk and resilience using improved geological models.
  • Smart observing systems: developing systems to measure environmental change-related pressures that can accommodate a range of different types of environmental data and characteristics.
  • Data pipeline: developing systems for managing environmental data and information flow, and transferring data and information between observing systems.
  • Tool development: developing tools to characterise pressures, environmental systems, change and response factors to enable long-term modelling and decision making.
  • Policy advice: supporting effective decision making, with respect to environmental change mitigation, adaptation and resilience, by developing communications for policymakers and implementers.
  • Critical evidence and information: defining the information needs of end users and improving partnerships with social scientists to support policy development and implementation.

Our facilities

stable isotope facility

Stable Isotope Facility

We are the largest UK producer of stable isotope data, particularly specialising in climate, environmental and archaeological studies

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Inorganic science facility

Inorganic Geochemistry Facility

The Inorganic geochemistry facility provides high quality analytical expertise and specialist services for the production and geochemical interpretation of inorganic data for BGS projects, and for commercial, university and public sector clients around the world.

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Organic geochemistry facility

Organic Geochemistry Facility

We specialise in organic geochemical measurements at the bulk and molecular level in complex matrices, like rock, sediment, soil and water.

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Soil physics facility

Soil Physics Facility

Our facility provides a range of soil physical measurement services as well as complementary analyses to describe the degree to which soil organic matter is decomposed.

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Aquifer Properties Facility

We undertake specialised core characterisation on drillcore and rock chippings from borehole samples for a wide range of hydrogeological purposes.

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Dissolved Gases and Tracers Facility

BGS is the UK’s leading organisation for groundwater dating and tracing. We use a wide range of environmental agents including CFCs, SF6, tritium, radiocarbon and stable isotopes.

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