Professional summary

Research Interests

Alan’s early research focused on water quality modelling. He developed process-based models describing the dynamics of faecal indicator bacteria and for assessing the impacts of air pollution on soils and surface waters. He has been involved in large-scale ecosystem manipulation experiments around the world and initiated and coordinated the CLIMEX project which enclosed a whole forested catchment within a greenhouse to increase the temperature and CO2 and assess the biogeochemical impacts.

Since 2000, he has focused on hydrology and water resources research and in particular the application of models, methods and data to address hydro-meteorological problems and underpin hydroclimate services. He drove the development of the UK Hydrological Outlook - now providing water resource assessments three months into the future: alerting the public, responders and resource managers to likely changes in river flows and groundwater resources. He conceived and initiated the COSMOS- UK soil moisture monitoring system - providing unique and essential information across the country in near-real time for research and for flood forecasters and water resource managers.

He has extended several hydroclimate services concepts into the Indian continent including the COSMOS-India soil moisture monitoring system and the development of modelling approaches to environmental flow assessment, flood estimation and water resources assessment.

Most recently he conceived and initiated the WMO Global Hydrological Summary and Outlook System (HydroSOS): taking advantage of available hydrological data and hydrological and meteorological models to provide essential information around the globe to support sustainable development of water resources and increase resilience to hydro-meteorological hazards.

Brief CV

Alan has been Deputy Director of CEH and then UKCEH since March 2011. He was also Science Director until 2022.

Alan is Chair of the UK Committee for National and International Hydrology, Head of the UK Delegation to the UNESCO International Hydrology Programme, Hydrological Adviser to the UK Government with the World Meteorological Organization, UK representative to the European Network of Water Research Centres (EurAqua), Leader of the WMO Task Team for the Global Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS), Leader of the Working Group on Hydro-climatic Extremes in the EU Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Programme, a member of the UK National Hazards Partnership Steering Committee and a member of the Steering Group of the Scottish Government Centre for Research in Water Programme.

Alan is an Honorary Professor at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, a Visiting Professor at the Department of Geography, University College London and an Honorary Research Fellow of the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.


BSc, University of Leeds
PhD, University of Leeds, "The effects of fluvial processes on the dynamics of sanitary bacteria in upland streams"